Until last weekend, there were fears that the American department of transportation (DoT) may not grant the Maharajah a landing slot at Newark, unless US carrier Delta Airlines was given third country code-share rights on an already operating Alitalia flight. Indian officials apprehend that such a US (Delta) demand would have given Alitalia an excuse to demand more traffic rights here.
This issue was resolved over the weekend. Consequently, Indias ministry of civil aviation has cleared the proposal of Delta Airlines seeking a third-party code-share rights on the Alitalia flight and, in turn, the US DoT has finalised landing slots at Newark for Air-India. Things are working just fine! Lawyers from the two sides met. I, myself, have returned from consultations in the US on Thursday evening. We are starting the flight linking Mumbai-Paris-Newark from December, Mr Verma said.
The proposed Air-India flight had hit an airpocket with Delta approaching US DoT to block the A-I landing slot at Newark. Also, US embassy officials in New Delhi met senior officials of ministry of civil aviation to find a meeting ground.
We dont have any problems with Delta entering into a code-share with Alitalia, but we had told them that the seats on the Alitalia flight cannot exceed the capacity as defined under the bilateral signed between Italy and India, a ministry official explained.
Alitalia, a part of SkyTeama global alliancealong with Delta, is already utilising its entire bilateral traffic rights to India.
Now we have asked Alitalia to grant us similar third country code-share rights under the principle of reciprocity, wherein we can code-share with any European airline for flying to Rome or Milan, the ministry official added.
Alitalia operates a daily flight to Milan from Mumbai. Delta too has seven flights a week linking Mumbai-Paris-New York.
Alitalia, Delta and Air France are SkyTeam partners, and have said that they will expand their code-share relationship by offering more services to Delhi and Mumbai from US, France and Italy. Other SkyTeam partners include AeroMexico, CSA Czech Airlines, and Korean Air.