100% Capacity: UAE open to more flights from India

New air services agreement likely

NEW DELHI 10 August 2017: The UAE is taking the initiative to make travel from India to airports in the Emirates affordable and accessible as the share of Indians in tourism in Dubai and Abu Dhabi reaches record numbers.

Dr. Ahmed Abdul Rahman Al Banna, UAE Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of India, has held extensive discussions with India’s Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Jayant Sinha, on augmenting air transport facilities and services between the two countries.

“Both parties agreed to set up a meeting between the General Civil Aviation Authority of the UAE and the Civil Aviation Authority of India to propose a new agreement and policy for the bilateral air services agreement,” according to a statement from the UAE Embassy in New Delhi after Dr. Al Banna’s meeting with Sinha.

The Ambassador said, “The UAE is willing to add few more flights and routes to connect regional airports in India to those in the UAE that will lead to affordable prices with the required capacity and also needs to focus on an open sky policy that raises the potential for enhancing UAE-India ties.”

It was proposed that talks in this regard should be held on 3rd and 4th October. Dr. Al Banna was accompanied during the talks by Ahmad Alfalahi, who deals with bilateral commercial ties at the embassy, the statement said.

Long Term Cooperation

In addition, Dr. Al Banna and Sinha discussed important issues for the long-term mutual cooperation and strategic relationship between the two countries.

Sinha was previously Minister of State for Finance, a post in which he worked for augmenting investments between the two countries as part of the Narendra Modi government’s new push for stronger ties with the UAE.

The meeting with Sinha was a follow up to a similar exchange of views between the Ambassador and Ashok Gajapathi Raju, India’s Minister for Civil Aviation, in the second week of July. The second meeting with Sinha, discussed bilateral cooperation in civil aviation and a road map for action.

A clause in the existing Air Services Agreement mandates that when capacity on routes between UAE and India reaches 80 per cent, new quotas to be shared between air carriers in both countries should be re-negotiated.

Because of a big increase in tourist, family and business travel between destinations in India and the UAE, capacity is now running at 100 per cent of the approximately 130,000 seats allowed per week. Indian carriers are reluctant to negotiate new quotas because they can hike up ticket prices if demand outstrips supply and no new agreement is in place.

Airlines in the UAE want to increase capacity to enable more passengers to fly to destinations in the UAE and connect with other airports in the Gulf and beyond at affordable and reasonable prices.

By Rajive Singh