Monday, November 11, 2019

More flights for Saudi Arabia as Centre increases seat quota by 78%

Mumbai: India and Saudi Arabia have revised their air services agreement, enabling an increase in flights between the two countries.

The weekly seat quota for the carriers of the two countries has been increased from 28,000 to 50,000 as part of the MoU signed in Riyadh on October 29. The increase in seats will take place in a phased manner.
According to the civil aviation ministry, the seat quota will rise to 36,000 in the first instance and then to 44,000 and 50,000 in the next two phases after certain conditions are met.

Indian carriers will continue to get unlimited access at Dammam airport, in the capital of Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province.

While India has turned down demands from West Asian states including Qatar and the UAE for an increase in seats — last month the government had declined the UAE’s proposal for more flights — it made an exception for Saudi Arabia. As India-Saudi relations are on an upswing with co-operation in various areas, Indian carriers did not oppose the proposal to hike the quota. This is because of limited traffic through Saudi Arabia, with most of the passenger flow being point to point. This is unlike airports like Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Doha, or Muscat, which serve as hubs for Indians travelling to Africa, Europe, and the US.
10/11/19 Aneesh Phadnis/Business Standard
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