Com­merce Min Pushes for Con­sid­er­ing Dubai’s Re­quest for More Fly­ing Rights

Asks avi­a­tion min to dis­cuss is­sue be­fore Oct 15, when a task force on in­vest­ments meets in Mum­bai

The Economic Times - - Companies: Pursuit Of Profit - Mi­hir.Mishra @times­ Flight Path

New Delhi: The com­merce min­istry has asked the avi­a­tion min­istry to con­sider Dubai’s re­quest for an in­crease in fly­ing rights be­tween In­dia and the UAE, at a time when New Delhi is ex­pect­ing higher in­vest­ments from West Asia. The com­merce min­istry, in a let­ter, asked the avi­a­tion min­istry to dis­cuss the is­sue of fly­ing rights be­tween the two co- un­tries be­fore Oc­to­ber 15, when a high-level task force on in­vest­ments in In­dia meets in Mum­bai un­der the chair­man­ship of Suresh Prabhu, who is the min­is­ter for both com­merce and avi­a­tion. “The com­merce min­istry has told us that in­creas­ing bi­lat­eral rights has be­come one of the key con­di­tions for in­vest­ments in In­dia by Dubai and we should meet them to dis­cuss the pos­si­bil­ity of an in­crease (in rights),” said a se­nior avi­a­tion min­istry of­fi­cial, who did not want to be named. The min­istry has asked Indian car­ri­ers to share their re­quire­ment on the In­dia-Dubai route, the of­fi­cial said.

“A bi­lat­eral ne­go­ti­a­tion can hap­pen once our car­ri­ers make a re­quest for an in­crease on the In­dia-Dubai sec­tor.”

The min­istry, how­ever, does not ex­pect any de­mand from Indian car­ri­ers, as yields on the In­dia-

asked Indian car­ri­ers to share their re­quire­ment on In­dia-Dubai route.

Dubai route have fallen from ear­lier lev­els, thus, im­pact­ing the prof­itabil­ity of the route.

Cur­rently, In­dia and Dubai al­low air­lines from each side to op­er­ate a lit­tle over 65,000 seats per week, a quota that has been ex­hausted by car­ri­ers from both sides. Dubai has been seek­ing an in­crease of 50,000 seats per week, but Indian au­thor­i­ties have not agreed to it yet and in­stead sought pref­er­en­tial treat­ment in slot al­lo­ca­tion for Indian car­ri­ers at Dubai’s air­port.

While Dubai au­thor­i­ties did not ac­cept In­dia’s re­quest, they of­fered Indian car­ri­ers slots even though there were no fly­ing rights to launch flights.

Al­low­ing fly­ing rights to Dubai had led to di­ver­gent views be­tween for­mer civil avi­a­tion min­is­ter Ashok Ga­jap­athi Raju and min­is­ter of state Jayant Sinha. While Raju was for a nom­i­nal in­crease in fly­ing rights, Sinha was against it on the grounds that avi­a­tion hubs have moved to West Asian des­ti­na­tions like Dubai on the back of Indian pas­sen­gers and at the cost of Indian air­ports.

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