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Airlines lobby against additional rights to UAE carriers

LiveMint logoLiveMint 21-07-2017 Tarun Shukla

New Delhi: Local Indian airlines under lobby group Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA) have opposed grant of any additional rights to Middle Eastern carriers into India.

“We have learnt from the travel trade in Dubai that Emirates & flydubai plan to operate additional flights to Kerala in the months of August and September 2017, ostensibly to cater to peak season traffic,” FIA wrote to the aviation ministry, in a letter dated 20 July that was reviewed by Mint.

“The UAE carriers should not be allowed to operate additional flights in excess of their capacity entitlements as the existing capacity entitlements adequately cater to the traffic demand between lndia and Dubai. Furthermore, the carriers of both sides are already utilizing the entitlements fully, deploying in excess of 130,000 seats per week in each direction between lndia and Dubai.”

FIA is led by InterGlobe Aviation Pvt Ltd-run IndiGo, SpiceJet Ltd, Jet Airways (India) Ltd and GoAir that control about 75% of the domestic market.

The carriers of Dubai currently have a large number of aircraft lying idle, due to the downturn in the economies of the Middle East coupled with the withdrawal of multiple daily flights between Dubai and Qatar, as a result of which they want to tap our peak traffic in August-September, vitiating the level-playing field between the carriers of both sides, the FIA letter said.

The local airlines feel the revenues and profits earned by them in the peak season will impact not only the profitability but also sustainability of their operations on the Kerala-Dubai routes. 

“It is our urgent submission to your kind offices that any request from the UAE carriers to operate additional flights to and from Kerala should not be acceded to and the level playing field be maintained,” FIA said.

Emails seeking comment from Emirates and flydubai were awaited at the time of filing the report. 

Local airlines have also told the aviation ministry separately, said an airline official who did not wished to be named, that bilaterals should only be given on mutually acceptable terms. 

Indian airlines do not get the slots they want at Dubai airport and they want the ministry to resolve that issue first.

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