INDIA is on the way to confirming an expansion of bilateral seat capacity with Dubai for 20 per cent more seats as strong demand has gobbled up current allotments.
Emirates and FlyDubai have together exhausted the existing 54,200 weekly seats. Although Dubai had requested 20,000 additional seats, India will allow only 10,800 more pending the inter-ministerial group meeting in New Delhi this week.
Ajit Singh, minister of civil aviation, said: “Dubai has been asking for more bilaterals as the current entitlement on both sides has been fully used up.”
According to India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Emirates carries the largest number of outbound passengers from India. The airline is also considering deploying the Airbus A380 on Indian routes, which had been disallowed by India until now.
Gulf-based carriers have been on the receiving end of India’s largesse, as seen in Etihad Airways’ alloted seat capacity between Abu Dhabi and India that rose from 13,000 per week in 2010 to 50,000 in 4Q2013.
However, India denied Qatar Airways’ application last year to nearly triple its seats from 25,800 to 72,600 weekly as India was using less than 25 per cent of entitlements to Qatar.