Qatar Airways hopes to operate additional flights to India after the civil aviation ministry decided to temporarily withdraw traffic rights held by Jet Airways. Jet, which suspended operations on April 17, used to operate double daily flights from Mumbai and Delhi to Doha.
The grounding of the airline has led to reduction in capacity and higher fares on international routes. The civil aviation ministry has withdrawn rights held by Jet on routes like Dubai, Doha, Singapore, Hong Kong and London on request from domestic airlines. Qatar Airways said it had made a formal submission to the central government to allow additional flights which will ease travel woes of Indian immigrants during peak summer months.
“Our contingency plan is designed to make an additional number of seats available on certain high volume routes (Mumbai, New Delhi and Bangalore), but only on a temporary basis and without formal changes to the current weekly seat capacity entitlement established under the 2009 Qatar-India bilateral aviation framework,” Qatar Airways said.
The airline has sought permission to operate flights using traffic rights which was earlier held by Jet Airways, it is learnt.
Traffic rights or seat entitlements on overseas routes are exchanged between governments of respective countries through air service agreements. These entitlements are held by the government. Airlines are granted designated carrier status and traffic rights on a particular route by the ministry on fulfilling its norms.
“Qatar Airways believes that the proposed contingency plan is a sound and practical way to address the financial and emotional stress that Indian travellers are set to experience in the coming weeks,” the airline’s group chief executive officer Akbar Al Baker said.