HomeLatest NewsIndia-Kuwait Bilateral Flying Rights: India Proposes 9:1 Ratio | - Times of...

India-Kuwait Bilateral Flying Rights: India Proposes 9:1 Ratio | – Times of India

NEW DELHI: In a first for India, the country has sought nine additional seats for every extra seat given to Kuwait under an enhancement of existing bilaterals or flying rights sought by it. India, which is seeking to develop its own hubs as desi carriers — Air India, IndiGo and others like Akasa — grow in heft, has proposed the 9:1 ratio as Kuwaiti carriers get nine points of call (cities they fly to) in India, our airlines fly to only Kuwait City there.
“So far flying rights’ enhancement have always been discussed on a bilateral or 1:1 basis. This is the first time that the aviation ministry has proposed a ratio for the same to a foreign country seeking more flying rights with India,” said highly placed sources.
Under existing bilaterals, designated airlines of Kuwait and India can operate about 12,000 seats per week each. “These bilaterals have not been hiked for almost a decade. Kuwait sought about an additional 7,000 seats,” said people in the know.
With India is developing its own mega hubs and airlines, it is not keen on giving more seats to nearby hubs abroad that have historically been used by passengers mainly to fly between India and the rest of the world via them on their home airlines. Like Emirates at Dubai, Etihad at Abu Dhabi, Qatar Airways at Doha and Singapore Airlines at Changi. The bilateral policy of Modi government in the last 10 years has kept the interests of Indian airlines and hubs first.
“On getting Kuwait request for more seats, the aviation authorities spoke to Indian carriers and they expressed a willingness to fly to Kuwait. Our airlines will be flying point to point from India to Kuwait while their airlines will fly traffic from India beyond also. Accordingly the ministry proposed a 9:1 ratio keeping the mind the points of call offered by each side,” said sources.
“Kuwait has agreed to this proposal and said it wants a 1:1 ratio for enhancing bilaterals. India then reiterated its points of call logic while stressing on the ratio proposed by it,” they add.
Government has been asking Indian carriers to add more wide body aircraft to their fleet and mount more direct flights between India and the rest of the world. The Tata Group last year ordered 70 twin aisle Airbus A350s, Boeing 787s and B777X for Air India. IndiGo will from 2025 start getting the single aisle A320 XLRs (extra long range) that will allow it to fly to central Europe online side and Far East on the other.
“These airlines have ordered planes with billions of dollars. Airport operators are investing billions on developing hubs across metros starting with Delhi. As traffic grows, bilaterals will have to keep pace. But we are keeping the interests of Indian passengers and our aviation ecosystem first,” said sources.
If the Kuwait ratio system for bilateral enhancement works, the same could be replicated with other nearby hubs too. Hubs near India are full of Indians in morning hours who are transferring from their flights from the country and rushing to take connecting flights to rest of the world. And from late evening, the scene is the same with the directionality being the only change this time Indians flying in from rest of the world and taking connections back home.

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