According to Paul Gregorowitsch, CEO, Oman Air, India intents to have open sky agreements with countries within a radius of 5,000 kilometres. “If the current policy of the Indian government to consider an open sky for those destinations which are within 5,000 kilometres materialises in the next two years, then it will automatically provide a more level environment,” he said. “Indian government has said it will consider it by 2020,” Gregorowitsch added.
An open sky air service agreement enables airlines in two nations to have limitless number of flights and seats to each other’s jurisdictions.
As Oman Air – the national airline of Oman, plans to add more aircraft and destinations, the pact may prove to be beneficial for both Oman and India. However, according to Gregorowitsch, the move should be complemented with more airports being made available in the country by permitting military airports to be used for civil purposes.
“In Mumbai, we are moving from double (flights) daily to triple (flights). While we have bilaterals, the infrastructure is quite difficult as there is only one runway,” Gregorowitsch added, speaking upon the challenges because of infrastructural shortcomings at airports in India.
As per the National Civil Aviation Policy 2016, the government will enter into an open sky air service agreement on a reciprocal basis with South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, and countries located entirely beyond a 5,000-kilometre radius from New Delhi.
According to the policy, for countries partly or fully within the 5,000-kilometre radius, where the designated carriers of India have not fully utilised 80 pc of their capacity entitlements, but foreign carriers/countries have utilised their bilateral rights and are pressing for increase in capacity, a method will be recommended.