India’s aviation industry remains relatively protected compared with other countries, and the government are keen to ensure that Indian airlines (most of which are private companies) remain the priority.
In the last four years alone, India has not granted any new flying rights to foreign nations within 5,000-km radius. As a result, new air bilateral agreement negotiations between the world and India depend on the future plans of Indian airline carriers.
In New Delhi, government official have asked several Indian airlines (including IndiGo, Spicejet and GoAir) to ‘share their views’ on allowing an increase of flights between India and Qatar, and Singapore.
Indian government officials say the country has received several requests from the two countries, specifically on enhancing the number of seats under the existing bilateral air agreements. Under the current policy, new flying agreements can be established only after Indian carriers have utilised at least 80% of the existing quota of seats allowed per week.
An Indian government official commented on the development to local media, stating “India-Doha sector has become a high-yield market, unlike India-Dubai sector where it is declining.”
Air India, the national carrier for the country, have made their position quite clear.
The government official added “Air India has asked us not to allow any more increase on India-Singapore route” an unsurprising statement, given Air India’s fragile state.
Both Singapore & the State of Qatar have a strong interest in India. Domestic traffic in the first half of 2018 has grown by 22%, against a world average of 7-8%.
This is while the country’s aviation industry is facing headwinds due to slide in the value of Indian rupee.
India will become the world’s second-biggest aviation market by 2038 with 1 billion passenger journeys a year, and Qatar and Singapore are both home to two super-connector airlines looking to further establish their presence in the Indian market…and further tap into the rising demand.
India’s growth isn’t without complications, though. An increasing strain on air-traffic control has led to an increase in the number of near misses between passenger aircraft. Furthermore, more than one-third of flights at Mumbai airport are delayed, according to the airport authorities.
India’s also facing a shortage of pilots, but it’s working on recruiting more amid the country’s aviation growth.