Civil Aviation Ministry revising note on bilaterals

After Prime Minister’s Office seeking revision of a Cabinet note on bilateral agreement on air traffic rights, Civil Aviation Ministry is now revising the document to clear the air on its pact with Abu Dhabi. The agreement between India and Abu Dhabi allows an increase in the number of seats airlines from both the countries would be allowed to operate per week. The move to revise the document also came against the backdrop of a section of MPs criticising the agreement, which enhances the number of seats from the current 13,700 seats per week to 50,000. They had questioned the decision which came after the Jet Airways clinching the deal with Etihad of Abu Dhabi. The PMO had asked the Civil Aviation Ministry on June 13 to revise the document to reflect the sequence of events better. In the revised note, officials said, the Ministry is likely to state the increase in the number of seats by 36,670 seats would be carried out in a phased manner in three years. The decision about allocation in a phased manner was taken by Inter-Ministerial Group. An additional 11,000 seats per week would be added to the existing 13,700 this year, another 12,800 seats would be added per week next year and the remaining 12,870 seats in 2015. The note will also give details about the sequence of events leading the two countries to sign the agreement after a gap.  The issue is being taken to the Cabinet as an ex-post facto approval of the Union Cabinet is required for this agreement to be operationalised. Officials said the new agreement would also allow an Indian carrier to fly an aircraft with about 150 passengers to Abu Dhabi and then transfer them on to its own bigger aircraft and fly to other destinations. They also said that it would reflect badly on India if it goes back on an international agreement between sovereign nations. They cautioned that the country cannot walk out unilaterally from such agreements and stand the ignominy of being dragged to International Court of Justice. Once finalised, the note would be sent to the PMO and the Cabinet Secretariat to be taken up by the Cabinet. Officials said the matter will be taken up soon.

Source: Deccan Herald

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