Indian carriers will soon be able to use Abu Dhabi airport as their hub,as the civil aviation ministry is likely to ask Abu Dhabi,during the bilateral talks scheduled for next week,to allow its carriers to let passengers change planes at its airport.
With this facility,commonly known as change of gauge,an Indian carrier will be able to take passengers from any destination in the country to Abu Dhabi and shift its passengers to another plane for the onward journey.
This will be in addition to the fifth freedom rights,which is being offered by Abu Dhabi. Fifth freedom rights,in this case,allows an Indian carrier to fly passengers from India to another country through a hub airport,where they can also pick passengers.
An industry insider explained that this will help Indian carriers connect a large number of smaller Indian cities,where the aviation growth in India is going to come from.
The government is to start negotiations with Abu Dhabi on increasing bilaterals between India and Abu Dhabi. Among requests for 54,500 weekly seats civil aviation ministry has received from various Indian carriers,Jet Airways has the largest list with 42,000 seats and the rest are from Air India,IndiGo and SpiceJet.
The current entitlement of Indian carriers is 13,330 seats weekly and 12,650 of them have been used.
An industry insider said that with 42,000 weekly seats Jet Airways plans to connect around 23 cities across
India to various international destinations via Abu Dhabi,which is likely to become its hub.
According to the plan,Jet Airways plans to connect cities like Patna,Vadodara,Jaipur,Lucknow,Calicut,and Amritsar with Abu Dhabi.
With this expansion,that is gradually set to happen in six years,Jet Airways will challenge carriers like Emirates,which currently have the largest share in passengers flying from India. Further,flyers in smaller cities will get direct international connectivity, said an expert.
The number of international passengers from Indian cities will further increase,if they are given proper connectivity, said the source.