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India Proposes 9:1 Ratio in Talks with Kuwait, Seeks More Flight Rights

© AP Photo / Rafiq MaqboolAn Air India plane
An Air India plane - Sputnik India, 1920, 07.02.2024
In the past, discussions on increasing flight rights have generally followed a bilateral or 1:1 approach. This is a notable shift, as it's the first time the aviation ministry has proposed a specific ratio when a foreign nation seeks increased flight rights with India.
In a groundbreaking move for India, the country has submitted a request for nine additional airline seats for every additional seat granted to Kuwait as part of the expanded bilateral or flight rights it is seeking.
India, which is seeking to strengthen its aviation hubs as domestic carriers such as Air India and IndiGo and newcomers such as Akasa expand their influence, has proposed a unique 9:1 ratio. This proposal stems from the fact that while Kuwaiti carriers have the privilege of nine points of call (cities they fly to) in India, Indian carriers are limited to flying only to Kuwait City.

"So far, the increase in flight rights has always been discussed on a bilateral or 1:1 basis. This is the first time that the aviation ministry has proposed a ratio for the same to a foreign country seeking more flying rights with India," Indian media quoted official sources as saying.

Under the current bilateral agreements, designated carriers from Kuwait and India are each allowed to operate approximately 12,000 seats per week.

"These bilaterals have not been increased for almost a decade. Kuwait has asked for about 7,000 additional seats," Indian media quoted officials as saying.

As India focuses on developing key aviation hubs and strengthening its domestic carriers, it is reluctant to allocate additional seats to neighbouring foreign hubs. These hubs, historically used by passengers travelling between India and other parts of the world through their respective national carriers, include Emirates in Dubai, Etihad in Abu Dhabi, Qatar Airways in Doha and Singapore Airlines in Changi.
Over the past decade, the Modi government's bilateral policy has consistently prioritised the interests of Indian airlines and hubs.
Azur Air aircraft. File photo - Sputnik India, 1920, 03.02.2024
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