The civil aviation ministry may increase the weekly bilateral seat entitlements between India and Dubai. The hike is likely to be over 10,000 seats a week from 55,000 currently. The move will, among others, benefit Emirates, which has already used up its quota of seats for the sector and has asked for more.
A meeting of an inter-ministerial group (IMG) to discuss the request for an increase of 20,000 weekly seats by Dubai, is scheduled to take place next week. “The IMG is meeting next week.
We have decided on considering Dubai’s proposal for an increase in bilateral seat entitlements since carriers from both sides have exhausted the current quota,” said a top ministry official.
While Indian carriers have exhausted 95 per cent of the quota available for Dubai, carriers from Dubai, including Emirates, have exhausted all their entitlements.
The airline carries the largest number of outbound passengers from India and is far ahead of Indian carriers. The official added that the General Election process and ‘model code of conduct’ should not hold the bilateral negotiation, as it may happen before the parliamentary polls.
This decision to hold the discussions comes after the government allowed a three-time increase in entitlements to Abu Dhabi.
In April last year, when Jet Airways signed a stake sale deal with Etihad Airways, India and Abu Dhabi agreed to increase the weekly entitlements to 50,000 seats a week from the level of about 13,000 a week. The increase had to be approved by the Union Cabinet in September.
While the aviation ministry is considering Dubai’s request, it had declined a proposal of the Prime Minister’s Office to explore raising the cap on number of weekly flights from Qatar in exchange of discounts on additional supplies of LNG from the Gulf nation in December last year.
The request was declined, as the Indian carriers are exhausting only 25 per cent of the current bilateral allocation.