Friday, December 16, 2016

More international airline choice for desi flyers as govt protects Indian carriers' interests too

Indian globetrotters will soon get more choice of flights — along with possibly lower fares due to increased connectivity — to the west and Africa mainly via the Gulf. And in a first, the Modi government has managed to save the interests of Indian carriers too as the flying rights of some countries will go up only when Indian carriers utilize 80% of their bilateral with that country.
India has enhanced the flying rights or bilaterals of Oman by 30%, allowing the airlines of both countries to operate 27,405 seat per week from the coming summer - up 6,258 seats from the earlier figure of 21,147 seats. The points of call, or number of cities Oman carriers can fly to in India, were not enhanced and neither was Oman's request to increase frequencies to more than one city in Kerala acceded to protect Indian airlines.
Similarly, India has given a conditional nod to increase the bilaterals with Saudi Arabia to 28,000 weekly seats from 20,000. This hike will kick in when Indian carriers utilize 80% utilization of their current flying rights. Bilaterals between two countries allow airlines of both sides to operate those many seats.
The mix of protecting Indian carriers and also giving more choice to Indian carriers on foreign airlines was achieved at the recently-concluded International Civil Aviation Negotiations Nassau by aviation secretary R N Choubey where India held negotiations with 17 countries and signed MoUs with 12 of them. India did not accede to Qatar's request for more access to the market here as local airlines have not utilized their bilateral to Qatar.
15/12/16 Saurabh Sinha/The Times Of India
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