Beijing/New Delhi: In a goodwill gesture, both India and China cleared permission for representative carriers to operate services from their countries. This allows private Indian carrier, Jet Airways ,to start Mumbai-Shanghai-San Francisco flights and Chinese cargo carrier, Great Wall of China, to start services to Chennai and Mumbai.
Permissions for both these airlines had been held up both countries on some pretext or other.
Given the magnitude of issues that both countries are yet to resolve this can only be looked upon as a minor breakthrough, but nevertheless provides some kind of a positive start to Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh's visit to China.
With the issue appearing to have been resolved, Jet may soon start flights to the US West Coast via Shanghai at the earliest. In return, Great Wall will get access to the southern Indian cities of Chennai and Mumbai.
Jet Airways may start services as early as March with two new Boeing-777s that have been ordered specifically for this route. Jet Airways owner, Naresh Goyal, is part of the high-powered business delegation that is accompanying the Indian prime minister on this trip.
Despite a doubling of trade between the two countries every two years, connectivity remains poor. The direct weekly air connectivity between the two Asian giants includes eight Delhi-Beijing flights, courtesy Ethiopian Airlines and China Airlines; four Mumbai-Delhi-Bangkok/Hong Kong-Shanghai flights of Air India; four Delhi-Shanghai flights on China Eastern and three Delhi-Canton flights on China Southern.