New Delhi opens up more international sectors to Indian airlines

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The Indian civil aviation ministry has opened up 11 new sectors under its bilateral air services agreements to the country's airlines.

These are Mumbai-Dar Es Salaam, New Delhi-Guangzhou, New Delhi-Yangon, New Delhi-Tashkent, New Delhi-Ho Chi Minh City, New Delhi-Hanoi, New Delhi-Almaty, New Delhi-Macau, New Delhi-Addis Ababa, New Delhi-Melbourne and New Delhi-Sydney, the ministry said in a statement. The move would "substantially improve" India's international air network, it added.

These are the first routes to be made available to India's privately-owned carriers at the first instance. Previously, state-owned flag carrier Air India had the first right of refusal on the routes that the ministry opened up.

Under a change that was announced earlier this year, all of the airlines would be allowed to apply for capacity up to the maximum allowed in the air services agreements in order to ensure "optimum utilisation" of traffic rights.

The civil aviation ministry added that with the new rights, services provided by Air India and its subsidiary Air India Express will increase from 430 in the winter 2011 schedule to 471 in the summer 2012 schedule.

The two airlines would increase their services from 94 to 109 to Dubai, from 39 to 47 to Abu Dhabi, from 33 to 49 to Sharjah, from 12 to 21 to Doha and from 42 to 48 to Saudi Arabia. For their winter 2012 schedule, Air India and Air India Express will add more capacity and have 577 services, said the ministry.

India's privately-owned carriers have a total of 513 services in addition to their existing allocation on various international routes, added the ministry.

SpiceJet has been allocated 98 more services per week for the summer 2012 schedule and an additional 90 services per week for winter 2012. Jet Airways has 102 more services in the summer and an additional 98 services per week in winter, and IndiGo has another 84 services per week in summer and 41 more services per week in winter.