The Economic Survey has suggested liberalising the flying abroad rule for airlines to bolster India’s share in international air traffic and advocated protectionism for the domestic carriers while negotiating air traffic bilateral rights.
The second volume of the Economic Survey 2016-17 released on Thursday said the expansion of capacity entitlements under bilateral air service agreements with foreign countries has hurt the Indian carriers as foreign airlines dominated the international traffic to and from India.
“Indian domestic airlines have a very lower share in international traffic to and from India,” the Survey said. “Factors like foreign airlines utilising the sixth freedom of the air, expansion of capacity entitlements under bilateral air service agreements with foreign countries, lower utilisation of India’s own capacity entitlements, the 0/20 rule and fleet constraints are responsible for the same,” it added.
Sixth freedom is the bilateral air traffic right to fly from a foreign country to another foreign country while stopping in one’s own country. For instance, Emirates operates flight between India and the UK while stopping at Dubai, its home state. The sixth freedom traffic constituted 61.14% of the total international traffic in 2015-16, up from 59.15 per cent in 2014-15. Read more