India and UAE are expected to hold preliminary discussions later this month as a precursor to renegotiating their bilateral air services agreement.
An official level meeting between India and the UAE civil aviation ministry officials is slated for January 15 in Mumbai to discuss the issue, official sources at India’s civil aviation ministry told Arabian Business.
“The UAE civil aviation authorities have requested a meeting with the Indian authorities on this (expanding bilateral airline seat capacities) issue. Accordingly, a meeting has been scheduled between the two sides in Mumbai during the Global Aviation Summit,” a ministry official, who did not want to be identified, said.
The Global Aviation Summit 2019 will be held in Mumbai on January 15-16.
About 60 countries, including countries from GCC, have already confirmed their participation at the Summit, a senior official at apex Indian business chamber Ficci, told Arabian Business.
Ficci is partnering with the Indian ministry of civil aviation in holding the Global Aviation Summit.
The UAE delegation to the aviation summit in Mumbai comprises of chairman, department of civil aviation, Ras Al-Khaimah and chairman, department of civil aviation, Sharjah, while the Saudi delegation will have president, GACA and Director Geneal, Saudi Arabian Airlines as members.
Sources said the airlines from India and the UAE have already exhausted the flying rights agreed under the existing bilateral agreement and the authorities from the UAE have been requesting their Indian side for negotiating the bilateral rights to increase the airline seat capacities and other services between the two countries.
Official sources said the proposed meeting in Mumbai will be a preliminary round of discussion to assess the current situation and identify the need and timelines for possible expansion of the airline seat capacities between the two countries.
The Indian side at the meeting will be led by the Joint Secretary in India’s civil aviation ministry.
It could not, however, be ascertained who will be leading the UAE side at the proposed meeting in Mumbai.
Dubai and some other cities in UAE are the most sought after destinations by Indian airlines because of ever increasing passenger and cargo traffic. Besides the large of Indian expats working in UAE, Dubai is also one of the busy destinations for business travellers and tourists.
In October-December 2018, the Dubai-Mumbai sector remained the busiest route among the India-GCC region, and witnessed an increase in air passenger traffic compared to the previous year, while many other sectors between India and GCC registered a drop in air passenger traffic during this period.
Indian carriers such as Air India Express and IndiGo have been increasing their operations to the Gulf region by adding new routes and additional flights, another Indian carrier Jet Airlines have recently announced withdrawal of direct flights between some of the cities in India and UAE, due to economic unviability.
This will be the first time India will be hosting the Global Aviation Summit, a comprehensive platform for global leaders from airlines, manufacturers, investors, vendors, cargo, space industry, financial institutions and skill development agencies to discuss issues related to various aspects of the industry.
The International Civil Aviation Organization has predicted a 100 percent increase in global air travel by 2030. This will require extensive efforts by the entire aviation ecosystem to meet this challenge.
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