UAE keen on open-sky policy with India

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on July 08, 2020 Published on July 08, 2020

Willing to partner in creating aviation hubs here: Envoy

The United Arab Emirates is keen to have an open-sky agreement with India. It is also ready to partner with India to create aviation hubs within the country, AR Albanna, Ambassador of the UAE to India, said on Wednesday.

“You need to have an open-sky policy. You cannot be protective and at the same time say you want to become a hub. Open-sky policy and looking at fifth and sixth freedoms (of air) is something else. We separate the two,” the Ambassador said while addressing a webinar organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

He added that at the moment, between all the Indian and UAE carriers, 1,068 flights a week are operated between all the airports in the two countries. “Of which, 138,000 seats are dedicated to UAE national carriers,” he said.

Freedoms of air

The issue of fifth and sixth freedoms of air has been a sore point between airlines in India and the UAE. International air travel is governed by various freedoms of air. While the first freedom of air allows a carrier to take off from its home state, the second freedom of air allows it to land in a second country. The third and fourth freedoms of air allow the airline to take off from the country it has landed in and come back to land at its home base.

The fifth and sixth freedoms allow airlines to carry passengers picked from one country and fly them to a third country rather than the country from which the airline originated.

The envoy pointed out that the UAE has succeeded in creating major hubs, specifically in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. “Implementing an open-sky policy is one of the main elements or pillars for becoming a major hub,” Albanna said.

He pointed out that the travel and tourism industry contributes25-30 per cent to the UAE’s GDP.

Addressing the webinar, Usha Padhee, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, said that while 2.7 million passengers have been flown on domestic airlines since services restarted on May 25, 800 of them have tested positive for Covid-19.

Pradeep Panicker, Chief Executive Officer, GMR Hyderabad International Airport, said that due to the rapid growth in the sector, almost all airports were undergoing expansion. Almost 75 per cent of on-site labour have gone home during the Covid-19 lockdown, he added. “They are not coming back to work at the airport. Our expansion projects are getting delayed.”

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Published on July 08, 2020
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