India and Russia have reached an agreement to revise their bilateral air services agreement, which will allow Russian carriers to operate up to 64 weekly flights to various Indian cities, according to a senior official.
It is worth noting here that under the current agreement, Russia can operate up to 52 weekly civilian flights to India.
The revised agreement will take some time to take effect and will be amended as needed, according to the official, who spoke to the PTI on condition of anonymity.
Background and Details of the Agreement
Aeroflot, Russia’s national carrier, currently operates seven weekly flights to India, while no Indian airline operates flights to Russia. Previously, Air India used to operate flights to Moscow.
Last month, an Indian delegation led by Civil Aviation Secretary Rajiv Bansal travelled to Moscow for a meeting about bilateral civil aviation cooperation. The meeting was held as part of the ninth session of the India-Russia Sub-Group on Civil Aviation Cooperation, which was presided over by Bansal and Russian Deputy Minister of Transport Igor Chalik.
According to the civil aviation ministry, a protocol on cooperation in the civil aviation sector was formalised as part of the meeting on February 17.
Under the India-Russia bilateral air service agreement, Russian carriers can operate flights to six points of call or destinations in India – Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Goa, Amritsar, and Ahmedabad.
Similarly, Indian airlines are permitted to fly to six destinations in Russia, including Moscow and St Petersburg, as per an update with the civil aviation ministry as of March 7.
India’s Bilateral Air Services Agreements
Currently, India has bilateral air services agreements with approximately 116 countries. Any designated airline of a foreign country may operate to/from India if it is designated as a point of call in the bilateral air services agreement signed between India and the country in question.
The Indian government, on the other hand, is not granting any non-metro airport as a new point of call for any foreign carrier operating passenger services. The reason for this is a “significant imbalance in the number of points of call in favour of foreign carriers,” according to the civil aviation ministry.
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