By Staff writer
Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju says negotiations will be 'mutually beneficial'
India is reportedly ready to open negotiations with the Gulf and Dubai in particular to enhance the bilateral air traffic rights.
Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju was quoted by local media in India as saying that the negotiations would be "mutually beneficial".
In previous negotiations, none of the Gulf nations gave India any benefit at the bilateral talks, but that will not happen again, he said.
"Since the past two years there has been a tremendous improvement in the utilisation levels of the bilaterals by our airlines with the Gulf nations. While it is around 80 percent for the region as a whole, with Dubai it is over 90 percent now.
"And with the limits being reached, we are ready to open negotiations with them again. I think we should begin with Dubai shortly," he told reporters.
"As the aviation minister, my job is to secure our national interests and not someone elses. Though a lot of bad things have happened in the past, I cannot set the clock back. But going forward, I will secure our interests first," he added.
In March, it was reported that the Dubai government had requested an increase of 50,000 seats in total capacity entitlement between India and Dubai.
By 2020, domestic and international passenger traffic through Indian airports is expected to double to 450 million. The UN World Tourism Organisation predicts more than 50 million Indians travelling overseas annually by 2020.