Aviation

UAE, India seek to increase flights to keep up with tourism

DUBAI: The UAE is taking the initiative to make travel from India to to the UAE affordable and accessible, as the share of tourists from Indian visiting Dubai and Abu Dhabi have reached 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, reports Khaleej Times.

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

The ambassador said: “The UAE is willing to add a few more flights and routes to connect regional airports in India to those in the UAE. This will lead to affordable prices with the required capacity. We’re also focusing on an open sky policy that raises the potential for enhancing UAE-India ties.”

Talks regarding this may be held on October 3-4.

In addition, Dr Al Banna and Sinha also discussed important issues for the long-term mutual cooperation and strategic relationship between the UAE and India. Their meeting followed one in July between the ambassador and Ashok Gajapathi Raju, India’s Minister for Civil Aviation, on a similar agenda.

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 the jump in tourist, family and business travel between both countries, 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 the UAE and connect with other airports in the Gulf and beyond, at affordable and reasonable prices.

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