Emirates head says air traffic curbs hurt Indian airlines

Emirates head says air traffic curbs hurt Indian airlines

21 Mar    Finance News, PMN Business, REU

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NEW DELHI — The head of Emirates said Indian airlines would lose financially as a result of traffic quotas between India and the United Arab Emirates, which the Dubai carrier believes should be increased.

The United Arab Emirates has asked India’s government to approve 50,000 extra seats between the UAE and India, but India’s civil aviation minister told Reuters on Tuesday that it was not currently looking at increasing existing traffic limits.

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Emirates airline President Tim Clark told the CAPA India Aviation Summit that he saw scope for “at least double” the weekly limit of 65,000 seats and that he regretted India’s position, revealed in a Reuters interview earlier on Tuesday.

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“It is such a big market. It is not as if the cake is static. The cake is growing,” he said.

Clark downplayed talk of rivalry with fast-growing Indian carriers and said he did not look at Air India as an adversary or feel threatened by it, in the wake of a huge plane order.

But he warned that Indian carriers would themselves be penalized by curbs on traffic.

“The Indian carriers who have been so prolific in grabbing their share of the value chain, are short-changing themselves to the tune of about a billion dollars a year” as a result of the traffic restrictions, he told the conference.

Clark earlier told reporters he was hopeful that the UAE and India would resolve the questions over bilateral flying rights.

“We are hoping that the government will recognize the power of what we’re talking about and that the Indian carriers will also, including Air India, say ‘this is good for us,” Clark said on the sidelines of the CAPA India conference.

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“I’m sure there will be a realization, hopefully the governments will have a meeting of the minds and get that sorted.”

Clark added that it was too soon to see any changes in premium demand due to the ongoing turmoil in the banking sector. (Reporting by Tanvi Mehta, Writing by Shilpa Jamkhandikar and Tim Hepher; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Jacqueline Wong)

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