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Wed 7 Jun 2017 09:26 AM

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UAE rules out changes to air service pact with India

GCAA says it is awaiting response from Indian government on increasing seat capacity

UAE rules out changes to air service pact with India
Saif Mohamed Al Suwaidi, GCAA Director-General. (ITP Images)

The UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) has said there are no plans to amend its air services agreement with India, insisting that it plans to stick to the current agreement, which was signed in 2014.

The authority’s response comes after Indian carriers urged the country's Ministry of Civil Aviation to re-negotiate a unified air services pact with UAE.

As of now, the UAE is the only country where India has air services agreements with individual emirates - Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah  - as opposed to a unified bilateral agreements with other countries.

In a statement sent to Arabian Business, the GCAA said: “The UAE and India have long been business and economical partners, and India will continue to be one of the most important aviation partners of the UAE. Thus, we are committed to the current excellent air transport relations with the Indian authorities that continues to be governed by the air services agreement signed in 2014 and other related arrangements that will remain unchanged.”

The aviation authority added that the UAE has expressed its interest in further enhancing its air transport relations with India, and has submitted a proposal to the Indian government, seeking extra seat capacity and flexibility on seat allocation.

“This move will benefit the public of the two countries and create tremendous economic benefits for both as well," the GCAA said.

"Nonetheless, we have yet to receive a response from the Indian authorities regarding our proposals. The UAE government is confident that our request is being positively considered by the Indian government.”

Last month, Indian civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju told local media that the bilateral air services agreements with the different UAE emirates will not be unified unless it is approved by the UAE.

Carriers from India and the UAE fly a total of 134,441 aircraft seats a week, each way. These are divided between Dubai (65,200), Abu Dhabi (50,000), Sharjah (17,841) and Ras Al Khaimah (1,400). At present, Indian carriers operate 97,802 seats, while the balance 36,639 are not being utilised. On the other hand, the UAE carriers have fully utilised their quota.

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