Govt signs a bilateral air service agreement with 116 countries to benefit passengers and bring down airfares.
To raise and expand connectivity between India and nations around the world, the Indian government has activated bilateral air service agreements with 116 countries and is allowing foreign carriers to serve India to add more flights to the country’s metropolitan cities.
Minister of State for Civil Aviation Gen VK Singh (retd) told the Parliament in a written reply saying that India has signed a bilateral Air Services Agreement (ASA) with 116 foreign countries.
Air Services Agreement
“Any designated foreign airline can operate to/from a point in India if it is designated as a point of call in the bilateral Air Services Agreement (ASA) signed between India and the country which has designated the airline,” he said. Travel industry experts stated the government’s move will benefit passengers and may bring down airfares.
“It is good to have bilateral air service agreements with countries to increase seat capacity and have an open sky policy for foreign carriers as it will benefit passengers,” Anju Wariah, Director, Group Business Development, STIC Travel Group said.
The government has also told due to a significant imbalance in the number of points of call in favor of foreign carriers at present, it is not granting any non-metro airport as a new point of call to any foreign carrier to work passenger services.
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Indian designated carriers are free to mount scheduled operations to and from any international airport, including Kannur International Airport, under the ambit of bilateral ASAs concluded by India with foreign countries.
The travel industry has been urging the government for quite some time that foreign carriers be permitted to work from cities other than metro airports.
“Indian-designated carriers are free to mount operations from any city but a foreign carrier is not. Till the time it’s not done, there will be a demand-supply gap which can impact prices,” Wariah said.
The countries with which India has signed bilateral air service agreements include those in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and South America.
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