New Delhi: India and the US yesterday signed
an Air Services Agreement that would result in more commercial
flights, lower fares and stronger economic ties between
the two countries. This new pact will replace the 1956
agreement, which had some restrictions on the points of
call as well as capacity on certain routes.
newspersons after the signing ceremony, the civil aviation
minister, Praful Patel, said that airlines would now be
able to select routes and destinations based on consumer
demand. "The new agreement will have no restrictions
on the number of flights, offer flexibility in the number
of destinations as well as bilateral code-sharing with
domestic carriers." Designated airlines could operate
flights on either or both directions, combine different
flight numbers within one aircraft operation and transfer
traffic from one of its aircraft to another.
Y Mineta, US secretary of transportation, added, "This
bilateral Open Skies agreement between India and the United
States will stimulate new passenger and cargo services,
new partnerships, innovations and lower prices - to the
benefit of our countries, our economies, our businesses
and our citizens."