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Concerns raised over Dubai's bid for more airline seats to India
February 25, 2014, 11:18 pm

Indian carriers have reportedly raised concerns about Dubai's request to add 20,000 extra airline seats per week to the South Asian country.

According to India's Economic Times, government officials have met to hear the protests from two airlines including Air India.

It said the concerns raised may result in Dubai getting only half of its initial request of enhancing weekly entitlements by 20,000 seats.

A top official of the civil aviation ministry told the paper that officials of various ministries met as part of an Inter Ministerial Group on Monday.

"The concerns of the Indian airlines will need to be addressed," said the official of the civil aviation ministry in comments published by the paper. "We will need to restart negotiations with Dubai and a meeting will be set up... very soon."

The meeting decided that the actual increase should only be around 10,000 seats per week. The final number will be decided after the meeting with Dubai officials, the report added.

An unnamed Air India official told the paper that giving more seats to Dubai would result in additional international traffic being diverted to Emirates.

"Giving more seats to Dubai would detrimental to our business... As such we don't see the need for additional seats being given to Dubai especially in the aftermath of the entitlement increase with Abu Dhabi."

Currently, the bilateral seat entitlements between India and Dubai total 54,200 seats per week. Dubai had asked for an increase by 20,000 seats per week in late 2012 but since then, Indian carriers have started new flights to Dubai.

In September, it was reported that India's federal cabinet approved an accord with the UAE to nearly quadruple airline seats between the two countries over three years.

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