Gulf airlines set for talks to add more India flights

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High-level meetings are set to take place next week between Gulf airlines and senior Indian government officials over adding more flights between the two regions.

According to Indian media, Dubai-based Emirates Airline, Qatar Airways and Bahrain's Gulf Air are both seeking more flights on the back of Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways being granted additional weekly seats to India.

It was reported that officials from these airlines are scheduled to meet finance minister P Chidambaram and civil aviation minister Ajit Singh early next week.

The Indian Express quoted Emirates as confirming that either president Tim Clark or other senior officials would be present at the meeting.

It said the Dubai-based carrier is looking for an additional 20,000 seats per week. The airline has told Indian diplomats in Dubai that there needs to be a level playing field with rival Etihad.

In April, the civil aviation ministry signed an agreement with Abu Dhabi to increase bilateral seat entitlements by 36,700 seats per week from the existing 13,300.

India and Abu Dhabi have signed a memorandum of understanding, but it will need to be approved by the Cabinet, it was reported.

Qatar Airways has reportedly also nearly used up the entire quota of 24,000 seats per week to India and has asked to enhance bilateral seat  entitlements by 48,000 per week.

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