Talks on the renegotiation of the bilateral air service agreement between the UAE and India are expected to begin in two to three months, it has been announced.
India’s new Minister for Civil Aviation, Hardeep Singh Puri, has met with the UAE Ambassador to India, Dr Ahmed Abdulrahman Al Banna, who told him that the current conditions in the civil aviation market called for an increase in capacity.
At present, there are 1,068 flights permitted per week between the UAE and India in both directions. UAE airlines operate just over 400 of these flights and Indian carriers operate over 500 flights. Around 138,000 seats per week are sold by UAE carriers, state news agency WAM reported on Saturday.
Al Banna said UAE carriers are keen to expand their operations to more smaller Indian cities, adding that there is also scope for more cargo flights between the UAE and India.
The meeting follows comments by Emirates chairman Tim Clark earlier this month who said the Indian seat allocation was the airline's "biggest single problem".
"The bilateral (air traffic) rights between India and Dubai is the biggest single problem. Now, the elections are over and the Modi government is back in power. I am hoping that the talks would (between India and Dubai) reopen," he was quoted as saying.
Earlier this week, Puri said airlines from the Gulf and other international carriers should be given the foreign traffic rights of Jet Airways, India’s private airline which shut down recently.
"I believe that India should not be restrictive in terms of a number of flights and so on, because if you have the capacity domestically, utilise it, otherwise don’t deprive ourselves of the economic opportunity. Because, I think if you have more players, prices come down," he said.
Puri said he has set up a committee to distribute the foreign traffic rights of the defunct Jet Airways among various airlines.
Source: Arabian Business