The Aviation Ministry of India has decided it would stop negotiating with Dubai on increasing bilateral flying rights for now.
A senior official of the Ministry that had direct knowledge of the situation but asked to remain anonymous, disclosed the recent development.
“It has been decided to put the issue of Dubai bilaterals on hold after the internal proposal to increase flying entitlements between India and Dubai by about 8,000 per week was not approved,” the official said.
According to the said official, the Ministry simply did not see a feasible reason to allow more seats on the India-Dubai route for now.
Airlines from India and Dubai are allowed to operate 65,000 seats per week, a quota that has been exhausted. While Dubai had requested for additional 50,000 seats, Indian officials had wanted favored treatment in the allocation of slots for Indian airlines at Dubai airports.
While Dubai authorities did not accede to India’s request, they instead offered Indian carriers slots in spite of the fact that there were no flying rights to launch flights.
The Ministry, after consultation with airlines, was examining the possibility of allowing carriers from both sides around 8,000 more seats per week, which was later scuttled for “want of rationale behind the scheme,” the official disclosed.
According to the official, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Minister of State Jayant Sinha had contrasting opinions on the value of increasing flying rights with Dubai.
While Raju was in favor of a slight increase, Sinha was against it, the reason being that aviation hubs have moved to West Asian locales such as Dubai.
Another Ministry official relayed that Indian carriers, too, were not too enthused on any increase in bilateral entitlements to Dubai.
“Air India has completely opposed any increase in bilateral entitlements. IndiGo and Jet Airways are not very keen on an increase, but have sought seats if the government decides on increasing bilateral entitlements between the two countries,” revealed another official.