Saturday, July 13, 2013

Winter chill hits airline seat sharing pact with Abu Dhabi

New Delhi/ Mumbai: Air carriers wanting to increase capacity between India and Abu Dhabi will have to wait until next year. For, the civil aviation ministry cannot offer the additional 11,000 seats promised in the new bilateral agreement in the winter schedule (starting October 1).
The delay could impact the plans of two airlines — Jet Airways, which had asked for an additional 42,000 seats, and Etihad, which also wants to fly more capacity into India. But this would come as a relief to others, including domestic carriers connecting India and West Asia, which were fearing a drop in prices if the capacity was increased.
A senior official at the ministry said, “We were to invite airlines to submit their flights plans for West Asian destinations after the agreement was signed with Abu Dhabi in April this year. Based on the individual airlines’ business plans, seat entitlements were to be granted. The re-drafted cabinet note now will be sent in the next one or two weeks. It does not look likely that the redistribution of seats can take place in the upcoming winter schedule.” In the negotiations with the UAE (Abu Dhabi is a constituent of the latter), the Government of India agreed to allocate an additional 36,670 seats a week over three years.
13/07/13 Sharmistha Mukherjee & Aneesh Phadnis/Business Standard