India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU), expanding and liberalising air services between the two countries.
Following two days of bilateral negotiation at Abu Dhabi, the two sides today agreed to allocate an additional entitlement of 36,670 seats per week spread over a period of three years - 11,000 seats per week in year 2013, 12,800 seats per week up to winter schedule 2014 and 12,870 seats per week up to winter schedule 2015.
Both sides have also agreed to extend third country and domestic code share facility.
However, the Indian side has not agreed to the request of UAE for any additional point of call and removal of cap in terms seats/frequency from each point of call.
The additional 2 per cent flexibility on total entitlement has been done away with.
Both sides have agreed to extend third country code share and domestic code share of designated airlines of either side.
The Indian side had requested the UAE side to grant change of gauge facility at Abu Dhabi to Indian carriers in addition to ensuring full fifth freedom rights from UAE.
Under the existing air service agreement, the designated carriers of both sides have existing entitlement of 13,330 + 2 per cent flexibility (total 13,600) seats per week with eleven points of call available to UAE.
The UAE has agreed to the Indian request of change of gauge facility and both sides have agreed to allow designated airlines of each side to have the option to change the aircraft in the territory of the other party.
The enhancement in the present capacity spread over three years would allow the carriers of both the countries to plan their future operations.
The change of gauge facility will provide operational/commercial flexibility to Indian carriers to enable deploy equipment corresponding to market demand. This will help in enhancing international connectivity for Indian passengers and also facilitate local and international route networking.
The UAE had sought additional 40,000 seats per week for its carriers and allocation of Goa, Pune, Amritsar and Lucknow as additional points of calls. The Emirates also sought lifting of the cap from each point of call in-term of seats/ frequency per week and allowing third country /domestic code share facility.
An official release from the Government of India said the negotiations were part of the policy of liberalisation for attracting foreign investment in India, including civil aviation sector, and was in the overall economic interest of India.