Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Aviation ministry seeks proof to allow more flights to Dubai

New Delhi: The aviation ministry has asked domestic airlines to submit proof of Dubai airport’s commitment of more slots to them before agreeing to increase the number of flights between India and the emirate, much to the carriers’ dismay.

The proof would be crucial in finalising a decision on the long-pending issue of increasing bilateral entitlements, an aviation ministry official said. “We cannot trust letters sent by airlines,” the official told ET. “We have asked them to share with a proof of slot commitment given to them. This proof could be a letter from Dubai authorities. Letters have been sent to all airlines, including Air India,” the person said.

Airlines executives termed the government demand “unnecessary”. “What more proof do they want?” said an airline executive. “The airlines have informed them in the form of a letter but they want proof now. It has never happened in the past that the government seeks such proof,” said the executive who requested not to be identified.

At present, bilateral agreement allows carriers from both sides to operate flights totalling over 65,000 seats each per week. Airlines from both sides are pushing for more seats. The Indian government had asked Dubai authorities to provide slot commitments for Indian carriers to agree on any increase in flying rights. The latter did not give any commitment, saying slot allocation is done by the airport authority and not the government.
04/10/17 Mihir Mishra/Economic Times