Singapore has urged New Delhi to start more flights between Singapore and cities in northern India to increase the flow of business communities and boost bilateral trade.
Singapore’s Minister for Trade & Industry S Iswaran said this while speaking at Uttarakhand Investors Summit 2018 held at Dehradun recently.
"Today, among the cities in the northern India Singapore carriers currently fly to Amritsar and Lucknow. I want our carriers to be able to fly more frequently, to more cities in the northern part of India so that we can enhance connectivity. We will soon be able to fly direct from Singapore to Dehradun, that will be a significant move," Iswaran said at the summit attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and state Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat.
Singaporean minister Iswaran also met Indian PM Modi on the sidelines of the summit and discussed the scope to enhance air connectivity to support business flows.
In his address to the business delegations, ministers and industry leaders, Iswaran listed enhanced air connectivity among three areas of thrust between India and Singapore, besides building smart cities and promoting tourism
"I think [one area] we can work together is air connectivity. Today there are around 528 flights between India and Singapore. In just last month Indigo launched its latest weekly service to Singapore," the minister said.
Iswaran said he was glad that airlines carriers were expanding their capacities, recognising the growth and demand from many of the visitors from both sides from India and Singapore who are keen to make more connections between the two economies and also people to people level.
"We believe there is scope to do much more because when we enhance our air links, we enhance business opportunities and we also we also enhance the way our people can come together more frequently and closer," the minister said.
Recalling role of Singapore's expertise in working out urban solutions to aviation while developing Pune as a smart city, the minister said, "We can do something similar in Uttarakhand and Dehradun, in fact, is one of the smart cities that has been identified. We have some of our companies here who want to see what the opportunities are and how we can work together."
With 29,700 seats offered per week on each side and 17 direct flights, Singapore has the highest number of entitlement among the ASEAN countries. In addition to this, Singapore also has access to 18 additional Indian points open to ASEAN countries.
Among ASEAN capitals, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok top the paired connectivity between Indian metros and Tier-1 cities. In Tier-2 city of Gaya, only Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur are connected.
New Delhi had revised the Air Services Agreement of 1968 with Singapore in 2002 and 2005 followed by an MoU on bilateral air services in April 2013. Singapore Airlines holds a 49% stake in Vistara, a joint venture with Tata Group. As many as 1.09 million Indian tourists visited Singapore in 2016, making India the fourth largest source of tourists.