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India rejects UAE's demand for more flights and access to new destinations

Arindam Majumder & Aneesh Phadnis/Mumbai 10 Oct 18 | 10:55 PM

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India has turned down the request of United Arab Emirates (UAE) for an increase in traffic rights and access to new destinations in the country. 

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Civil aviation ministry officials held talks with their counterparts from the UAE in Mumbai on Wednesday and rejected the request, as the demand was opposed by domestic carriers. 

A ministry official said no increase has allowed in seat entitlements and no changes made in destinations. He added the two sides might meet again in February next year.

In 2017, 60 million passengers flew between India and the UAE, the largest overseas air travel market from India. The UAE also accounted for 20 per cent of all international air traffic. Dubai and Abu Dhabi are the largest overseas hubs for Indian travelers.

India has separate air services agreements with Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. 

Dubai had sought an increase of 50,000 seats per week (over the existing 65,000 seats) and access to three destinations, Coimbatore, Goa and Chandigarh. Sharjah wanted an increase of an additional 15,000 seats per week over the existing 18,000 seats, plus access to 12 extra destinations. The number of flights and weekly seats airlines offer are based on these agreements.

Emirates is the third-largest airline on international routes to and from India, and accounts for about 9 per cent of all international traffic, while Etihad and Air Arabia have 4.3 per cent and 3 per cent share, respectively.

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