Domestic carriers allowed to fly to new destinations

Indian airlines will see the number of international flights go up to 1,695 a week by October next year, from 1,074, an increase of almost 58 per cent.

This follows the Indian Government allowing domestic airlines to not only operate on new routes connecting India with Rome, Madrid, Moscow, Barcelona, Zurich, Dusseldorf, Ho Chi Minh city and Al Najaf (in Iraq), but also permitting them to increase the frequency of flights to international destinations. It will be a phased increase over the next 15 months.

From the summer schedule 2013, Air India has been permitted to operate daily flights from Delhi to Rome-Madrid-Barcelona and Moscow, while from winter schedule 2013, the Maharaja has been allowed to launch a daily flights between Mumbai and Nairobi.

The summer schedule runs from the last Saturday of March till the last Saturday of October, while the winter schedule extends from the last Sunday of October till the last Saturday of March.

In effect, this means that an airline permitted to operate a flight in the summer schedule 2013 can start the service anytime between March 30 and October 20, 2013.

Jet Airways has been permitted to operate a daily flight between Delhi and Frankfurt and Mumbai-Ho Chi Minh city from summer 2013, while it has been permitted to operate a daily flight from Delhi to Paris, Dusseldorf, Barcelona, Beijing and Mumbai-Zurich from winter 2013.

Low-cost airline SpiceJet has been permitted to not only operate a daily flight between Pune and Bangkok but also Delhi-Dhaka-Yangon.

In addition, the airline has been permitted to fly three times a week to Lucknow and four times a week from Varanasi to Al Najaf in Iraq. The airline can start these flights anytime till the end of March next year.

Besides, the airline can operate a daily flight between Delhi and Almaty, Kuwait and Ho Chi Minh city. In addition it has been permitted to operate a daily service between Kochi and Male and Kolkata-Hong Kong during the summer schedule 2013.

An official statement by the Civil Aviation Ministry states that new allocations are expected to give a major boost to Indian carriers and spur growth of domestic civil aviation by considerably improving connectivity of Indian cities with international destinations.

The increase in the number of traffic rights is expected to bring down fares. The Ministry is also likely to hold fresh bilateral talks with countries, including Singapore, Thailand, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Iraq, Macao and Afghanistan.

ashwini.phadnis@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on November 9, 2012)
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