Monday, May 22, 2017

Bilaterals with Emirates: 4 into 1 pact possible only after nod from UAE, says Ashok Gajapathi Raju

New Delhi: The proposal to club the flying rights given to four separate Emirates — Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Ras-Al-Khaimah — in a single pact can only be formalised if the UAE agrees to it, civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said. In an interview with FE, the minister said bilaterals need to be discussed bilaterally and cannot be done unilaterally, so it can only be done after the discussions and UAE’s approval. Currently, there are separate bilaterals with Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Ras-Al-Khaimah.
“I don’t know about the historical background because in other cases also it was from country to country. So, I have no idea why the decision was taken to have separate agreements with four states. If that country is serious about it and wants it changed then we would not say that we are closed. As of now, there has not been any communication from the other side and is in the realm of speculation. If the desire is there then there is no problem, we can sit and negotiate,” Raju said. “If airlines on both sides have utilised 80% of the seats then the aviation ministry can negotiate for a revision, which is the case with the UAE,” he added.
The thinking in the ministry is that the move would benefit domestic carriers flying on international routes as well as the carriers in the UAE also.
The benefit with such a clubbing would be that an Indian carrier would be able to fly to those centres also where its seat deployments is full if deployment at other centres has capacity. For instance, currently the deployment of seats for Dubai is 65,200 which is full from both the sides. Any new Indian carrier therefore cannot fly to Dubai.
22/05/17  Malyaban Ghosh/Financial Express