Emirates Airline seeks more seats under bilateral air traffic rights

Written by PTI | Hyderabad | Updated: Mar 13 2014, 00:11am hrs
Emirates AirlinesAnd the 11,000 seats that have recently been increased are just not enough: Emirates Airlines
Gulf carrier Emirates today expressed its disappointment over the recent hike in bilateral air traffic rights between India and Dubai and urged the Indian government to grant more access to it.

"We have been given limited access in the last six years. And the 11,000 seats that have recently been increased are just not enough. We had asked for some 30,000 seats to fulfill our requirements," Emirates divisional senior vice president for Planning, Aeropolitical and Industry Affairs Adnan Kazim told PTI on the sidelines of the 4th India Aviation show here.

Noting that India was an important market for Emirates, he said the "inadequate" weekly seat capacity on the India- Dubai sector was "hindering the airline's further growth in the local market".

He said, "We also don't know what will be Emirates' share out of the 11,000 (additional) seats when the Dubai government decides on the allocation."

India and Dubai had recently agreed to enhance their weekly bilateral seat entitlements by 20 per cent to 65,200. Under the revised bilaterals, carriers of both countries would be able to sell 11,000 extra seats in three phases, extending up to March 2015.

Currently, Air India, Air India Express, Jet Airways, SpiceJet and IndiGo operate regular flights to Dubai, while Emirates and FlyDubai are the only two carriers which operate out of Dubai.

Emirates, which operates 185 flights a week from 10 Indian cities, have also flown in one of its superjumbo Airbus A-380 aircraft at the airshow at the Begumpet Airport here.

Asked about the deployment of A-380 for India operations, the Emirates official said it was difficult to give a timeline "because first we don't know how many of the increased seats are going to be with us".

"When that is decided, we will look all options. So at this stage, we can't say when and where we are going to operate this aircraft," he said.

Kazim said his airline, however, remained optimistic about the growth of aviation in India and "our objective is not simply ferrying passengers from here to there but we also want to promote the tourism and trade by providing greater connectivity".