UAE And India Agree To Aviation Capacity Talks

Photo: Aaron Barnaby

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The UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority is expected to hold talks with its Indian equivalent in October with the aim of securing new capacity and routes between the two countries.

The emirates is proposing talks on October 3 and 4 following an agreement to setup a meeting between the two authorities by the UAE’s ambassador to India, Dr Ahmed Abdul Rahman Al-Banna, and India’s minister of state for civil aviation Jayant Sinha.

A clause in the existing air services agreement mandates that when capacity reaches 80 per cent on UAE-India routes new quotas for carriers in both countries should be renegotiated, according to UAE state news agency WAM.

However, capacity is now running at 100 per cent of the approximately 130,000 seats allocated per week, it 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,” Al-Banna was quoted as saying.

Indian carriers are said to be against introducing new quotas because “they can hike up ticket prices if demand outstrips supply and no new agreement is in place,” according to WAM.

In contrast, Gulf carriers Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways are eager to increase their countries’ respective quotas, seeing India as a key source market for passengers to utilise hubs in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha for onward journeys to Europe and the US.

Dubai alone attracted more than one million overnight visitors from India in the first half of this year.

Abu Dhabi’s Etihad, which acquired a 23 per cent stake in India’s Jet Airways in 2013, also announced the introduction of a fourth daily non-stop service to Kozhikode in the Indian state of Kerala in May.