“We have asked all our carriers to send us their plans for new flights to Abu Dhabi. The requests are expected to reach us in a week and we will allocate them seats from the increased bilateral entitlements. Once their requests reach us, we should process the requests in about two days and they can start their flights from the winter schedule,” said a senior civil aviation ministry official. He added that they had asked the airlines to send their requirements a week ago.
The requests for increase in flights have been sought on the basis of a three-fold increase in weekly seat entitlements between India and Abu Dhabi over a period of three years. This increase was also post-facto approved by the Cabinet.
The increase in bilateral entitlements has also been challenged in the Supreme Court by BJP leader Subramaniam Swamy, who has alleged that the bilateral entitlements were signed to facilitate the stake sale deal between Jet Airways and Etihad.
The Supreme Court has now asked the government to respond to Swamy’s allegations. “The government collectively will respond to the Supreme Court’s notice but the order does not stop us from processing the increase in bilateral entitlements,” said a senior ministry official.
The current demands will be for increasing the entitlements by 11,000 weekly seats, agreed upon for 2013, from the current 13,600 weekly seats that is the increase proposed during the current calendar year.
Under the recently-signed air services pact between India and Abu Dhabi, the increase in entitlements is to be implemented over three years — 11,000 seats per week in 2013, 12,800 seats per week up to the winter schedule of 2014 and 12,870 seats per week up to the winter schedule of 2015.
The biggest beneficiary from the increase in bilateral flying rights is likely to be Jet Airways, which has plans to connect around 23 cities in the country to the world via Abu Dhabi. The other airlines to ask for an increase would be Air India Express and SpiceJet.
* Under the recently-signed air services pact between India and Abu Dhabi, the increase in entitlements is to be implemented over three years
* In 2013 the number would go to 11,000 seats per week in 2013, 12,800 seats up to the winter schedule of 2014 and 12,870 up to the winter schedule of 2015
* The biggest beneficiary of the increase is likely to be Jet Airways that has plans to connect 23 Indian cities to Abu Dhabi
* Air India Express and SpiceJet too would seek an increase