Monday, October 22, 2018

No new flying rights for Dubai, Qatar & Singapore

India plans to keep bilateral flying rights with Dubai, Singapore and Qatar unchanged after domestic carriers objected to an increase on the grounds that their international plans would be hit, an official said.
The move could, however, be against the interests of consumers and hurt one of India’s newer airlines, analysts said. Under the new civil aviation policy, any move to increase rights can only take place if Indian carriers utilise at least 80% of the entitlement on those routes. All three had asked for an increase in rights as the destinations qualify on this count.
Indian carriers have used up rights to Dubai fully and those to Qatar by about 90%. With new Singapore flights having been started, utilisation on that route has breached the 80% mark. Emirates, Singapore Airlines and Qatar Airways carry a large percentage of onward traffic from India to Europe, the Americas and Africa through their home bases. The government decision comes as Indian carriers such as IndiGo and SpiceJet are aggressively expanding operations to international destinations.
“The objection by Indian carriers has been on the grounds that these carriers carry a lot of sixth-freedom traffic through their hubs, thus taking away business from Indian carriers,” said the senior aviation ministry official cited above. “We have accepted their concerns and would not be agreeing on any increase in foreign flying rights with these countries.”
While an unchanged limit may favour some carriers, it may not be good news for airlines like Vistara that have applied to the ministry to fly overseas and have sought rights to fly short-haul destinations that include Singapore, Male and others. Vistara is jointly owned by the Tata Group and Singapore Airlines. Analysts said the government should not limit rights as this wouldn’t be in the best interests of consumers.
22/10/18 Mihir Mishra/Economic Times
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