Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Revising UAE air service pact will hurt Indian airlines, spike fares: CAPA

Mumbai: The Indian government's plan to revise air service agreement with UAE will constrain growth of Indian carriers and could lead to an aeropolitical dispute, aviation consultancy CAPA said today.

India-West Asia segment accounted for half of India's international air traffic in pre-Covid times. UAE is the largest market within West Asia, with around 60 per cent of traffic flow to and from the region.

India has separate air service agreements with Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Ras Al Khaimah and Sharjah. A media report today said the civil aviation ministry is planning to merge it into a single agreement and cap the number of seats available to Indian and UAE carriers. This would lead to a reduction of flights being offered by UAE-based airlines and would increase fares, the report said. A decision to revise the agreement has to be mutually agreed upon by both parties.

In a tweet, CAPA said it would be a bold step if the government is indeed considering a revision in the air service agreement. However, the policy is unlikely to be implemented, the consultancy said.

"It would not only lead to an unnecessary aero-political battle, but would have repercussions in the bilateral relationship beyond aviation. Market access is connected to broader economic, trade and investment issues," CAPA said.

"From the UAE side, Emirates, flydubai and Air Arabia would likely be most impacted. It is not even in the interests of Indian carriers, given that they too would exhaust their entitlements if seats are cut by 33 per cent based on pre-Covid operations," it said.

"India is an important market for flydubai and we work within the bilateral agreement discussed at a government level," a flydubai spokesperson said.

India has exchanged around 135,000 seats per week with Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah in separate agreements. Pre-Covid, Indian carriers were utilising around 100,000 seats per week while the UAE carriers were utilising around 115,000 seats per week.

Both Indian and UAE carriers were fully utilising their seat entitlements on the Dubai and Sharjah routes. In the case of Abu Dhabi, Etihad was using 61 per cent of seats while Indian carriers were using only 35 per cent of seats. For Ras Al Khaimah utilisation of seats from the UAE side was zero and it was 26 per cent from the Indian side.

31/08/21 Aneesh Phadnis/Business Standard

To Read the News in full at Source, Click the Headline


Post a Comment