The Union government’s promise of liberalising India’s flying rights policy has excited the Gulf airlines
as they expect an open sky that will help them get more seats.
on Thursday said the airline was hoping that Indian government would stick to its stated position of following an open sky policy
with countries which are located less than 5,000km from India.
This will allow the airlines
from other countries to operate as many flights.
“The Indian government mentioned to open the skies beyond 5,000km. It announced that the next step will be to have (open skies) within 5,000km. Oman is located within 5,000km from India.
So if this initiative materialises, we will have open sky for destinations within 5,000km in the next two years that would suit Oman Air,” the airline CEO Paul Gregorowitsch said.
According to the new civil aviation policy announced last year, the government can enter into an ‘open sky’ air services agreement on a reciprocal basis with the Saarc nations as well as countries with located entirely beyond a 5,000km radius from New Delhi.
The open skies agreement will allow airlines
to operate unlimited number of flights to all locations while inreturn those carriers can be granted same number of traffic rights to six Indian metro cities.
Gregorowitsch said that at present the airline has enough flying rights as it got an enhancement last year. But it would require more seats when it adds new aircraft by 2020.” We got an enhancement of bilateral rights last year which allowed us to increase our weekly frequency from 120 to 161. We have also received around 7,000 extra seats. By 2020 when we have new aircrafts, we will have more rights,” he said.
The Gulf carriers depend on transit traffic from India
which goes via West Asian hubs like Dubai, Abu Dhabi and continues their onward journey to Europe and North America. Of the total traffic of Oman Air, the transit passengers accounts for around 60 per cent.
This includes about a 50 per cent share of Indian passengers. India
is now Oman Air’s largest market with 11 destinations accounting for about 25 per cent of its total international seat capacity.