The Indian government has received multiple requests from countries including the UAE, Qatar, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Turkey, seeking an increase in foreign flying rights.
Several nations, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Singapore, and Indonesia, are urging India to reconsider air services arrangements. However, the government is expected to withhold granting new flying rights until domestic carriers achieve a certain scale in the international arena.
These nations have urged India to increase the number of seats for their airlines and expand the destinations served by Indian carriers in their territories. This request comes in response to a substantial rise in the number of travelers, particularly before the Covid-19 pandemic and after the relaxation of travel restrictions.
The Indian government has received multiple requests from countries including the UAE, Qatar, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Turkey, seeking expanded flying rights. However, these requests have not been entertained thus far. According to anonymous sources, foreign carriers seeking increased flying rights to and from India may have to wait, as the government is unlikely to grant new rights, especially to countries with established aviation hubs.
A government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, stated, “There are plans by Indian carriers to expand in the international space, and they have ordered planes, including wide-body aircraft. We want our carriers to grow in the international space… any fresh bilaterals to countries with hubs are out of the question.”
The aircraft orders mentioned include one for 470 aircraft by Air India and another for 500 aircraft by IndiGo. Air India intends to expand in both short-haul and long-haul international routes, while IndiGo plans to focus on short-haul international routes.
Central to the global aviation industry are air service agreements (ASAs), bilateral agreements between countries established under the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) framework.
India currently has air service agreements with 109 countries. However, there have been no revisions to these bilateral arrangements since 2014, despite requests from airlines like Emirates, Qatar Airways, Jazeera Airways, Singapore Airlines, Turkish Airlines, and others seeking an increase in flying rights.
The government’s stance is that granting more bilateral arrangements to foreign airlines would pose challenges for Indian carriers looking to expand globally.