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India Signs Open Skies Pact With 6 Countries During ICAN 2016

On the sidelines of International Civil Aviation Negotiations (ICAN) – 2016 held recently in Nassau from 5th to 9thDecember, 2016, R.N. Choubey, Secretary, Civil Aviation said that India signed agreements with six nations on air aviation.

The Conference was attended by 106 countries out of ICAO membership of 191 countries. India held negotiations with 17 countries and “Memorandum of Understanding” was signed with 12 countries.   The major issues resolved at these negotiations as per the directions in National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP 2016) are:

  1. Increase in traffic rights:- India renegotiated traffic rights with Oman increasing the entitlements with 6,258 seats effective from Summer 2017 as the existing entitlements were nearly exhausted. The points of call remained unchanged.

India agreed with Saudi Arabia to increase the capacity by 8000 seats per week from IATA season when Indian carrier’s utilization reaches 80%. This was in response to the needs of increasing traffic between the two countries where Indian carriers have been utilising open sky in Damman to mount more flights than the Saudi Arabian side.

India also agreed with Ghana to increase the present allocation of 2 frequencies to 7 frequencies per week to encourage connectivity between the two countries.

  1. Open Skies agreement as per NCAP 2016 :- allows unlimited number of flights to six metro airports namely Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Chennai, was signed with six countries namely Jamaica, Guyana, Czech Republic, Finland, Spain and Sri Lanka. The new arrangement will encourage connectivity and passenger travel between India and these countries.
  2. New Air Service Agreements were signed with Jamaica and Guyana.
  3. Code Shares:- In the present scenario code shares provide seamless connectivity to the travelling passengers and make possible connectivity between far off destinations not served by direct flights.  As per NCAP 2016 code shares are to be encouraged and keeping this in view, negotiations were completed with 9 countries to enable the legal framework between the governments of these countries to make possible code shares between the airlines of two sides. The negotiations have  enabled domestic code shares with Czech Republic, Portugal and Malaysia, domestic and international code shares including third country airlines with Guyana, removal of restriction of counting of capacity in case of code share with 3rd country carriers and domestic code  share to additional two points to Mauritius, code share with 3rd country carriers and 4 additional domestic code share points with Saudi Arabia and Spain and code share with 3rd country carriers with Sri Lanka.
  4. Resolution of other issues relating to Air Services Agreement was also completed with Ghana, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Portugal, Hong Kong, Ethiopia and Bangladesh.

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