Capacity to be raised in three phases extending up to March 2015

India and Dubai have agreed to increase the number of seats their airlines can operate between the two countries by 11,000.

In a late-night development, Dubai also agreed to allow Indian carriers to go in for a “change of gauge”, that is, allow them to change the aircraft they operate to Dubai.

Currently, Air India, Air India Express, Jet Airways, SpiceJet and IndiGo operate regular flights to the Emirate. The increase in the seats is to be in three phases, extending up to March 2015.

The bilateral talks extended late into the night on Wednesday, with Indian carriers reluctant to shift operations to the newly opened Dubai Central Al Makhtoum Airport. The new airport, which became operational last year, is 65 km from the existing Dubai Airport.

There is no clarity if the new agreement will cap the number of flights that can be operated by Dubai carriers to various cities in India every week. Before the talks started, Air India and IndiGo had opposed the move to grant additional seats to Dubai-based carriers, pointing out that such a move would kill Indian carriers.

Dubai has been keen on enhancing its seat eligibility after India signed an MoU with Abu Dhabi.

(This article was published on February 26, 2014)
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