The Economic Survey released on Friday has argued that the Indian carriers lagged behind in utilising their foreign air traffic rights compared with their international counterparts. However, some of the figures cited by the Survey to depict this scenario are inaccurate, as per official aviation ministry estimates reviewed by The Hindu .
According to the second volume of the Economic Survey 2016-17, the Indian air carriers utilised 72.1% of their capacity entitlements to Dubai whereas airlines from Dubai were able to use 97% of the total entitled capacity to India in the latest summer schedule of 2017.
However, data compiled by the Civil Aviation Ministry shows that both Indian and foreign carriers have exhausted their bilateral quota on the India-Dubai sector already. Airlines from Dubai and India are entitled to fly 66,504 seats into each other’s territory, as per the air services pact.
This year, Indian carriers have flown 66,526 seats to Dubai (more than 100% of the entitled seats) and airlines from Dubai flew 66,462 seats (99.9%) to India – clearly showing that Indian carriers were carrying more capacity than their foreign rivals on this sector.
Countries sign bilateral air services agreements stating the number of seats or flights that airlines are entitled to fly into each other’s country. However, as a special case, India has signed separate bilateral air traffic agreements with United Arab Emirates’ Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Ras-al-Khaimah.
The Economic Survey has sought to highlight that Indian carriers have a poor performance record in terms of carrying international passengers to and from India as compared with their foreign counterparts, blaming the poor utilisation of bilateral rights as one of the primary reasons.
It also said that the capacity entitlements to Dubai increased six-fold, to Oman nine-fold and to Qatar 12-fold. It said Indian carriers only carried 36.6% international passengers to and from India in 2015…