In another example of the closeness between the Indian and UAE governments, efforts are being made to increase bilateral flights between the two countries as the share of Indians visitors to Dubai and Abu Dhabi reached record numbers. The capacity of approximately 130,000 seats allowed per week is now running at 100 per cent.
In this connection, Dr Ahmed Abdul Rahman Al Banna, UAE Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to India, has held extensive discussions with India’s Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Jayant Sinha, on augmenting air transport facilities and services between the two countries.
A statement released from the UAE Embassy in New Delhi regarding the meeting said, “Both parties agreed to set up a meeting between the General Civil Aviation Authority of the UAE and the Civil Aviation Authority of India to propose a new agreement and policy for the bilateral air services agreement.”
The ambassador said, “The UAE is willing to add few more flights and routes to connect regional airports in India to those in the UAE that will lead to affordable prices with the required capacity and also needs to focus on an open sky policy that raises the potential for enhancing UAE - India ties.”
It was proposed that the talks should be held on October 3-4. Dr Al Banna was accompanied during the talks by Ahmad Alfalahi, who deals with bilateral commercial ties at the embassy, the statement said.
The UAE ambassador’s meeting with Sinha was a follow-up to a similar exchange of views between the ambassador and Ashok Gajapathi Raju, India's Minister for Civil Aviation, in the second week of July. The second meeting with Sinha, discussed bilateral cooperation in civil aviation and a road map for action.
A clause in the existing air services agreement mandates that when capacity on routes between UAE and India reaches 80 per cent, new quotas to be shared between air carriers in both countries should be re-negotiated.
Because of a big increase in tourist, family and business travel between destinations in India and the UAE, capacity is now running at 100 per cent of the approximately 130,000 seats allowed per week. Indian carriers are reluctant to negotiate new quotas because they can hike up ticket prices if demand outstrips supply and no new agreement is in place.