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International airline rights to Indian airlines: Privatized Air India loses preferential status

NEW DELHI: Privatized Air India will no longer take precedence in gaining international aviation rights under India’s bilateral agreements with other countries, and all Indian airlines will now be on the same footing.
The Directorate-General for Civil Aviation (DGCA) has revised the guidelines in this regard by dropping the clause intended for the former state-owned Maharaja: the applicants. ”
On 19 April 2022, the regulator issued the revised rules to grant permission for international scheduled flights to Indian airlines that may qualify to do so after meeting the 0/20 requirement – no limit for operating years, but with a minimum of 20 aircraft in the fleet .
The Tatas had taken over AI and AI Express three months ago. Alliance Air, which is a turboprop fleet, will soon be privatized.
Given the poor financial health of a majority of Indian airlines, underutilization of flight rights has given them a common phenomenon in recent years.
When airlines wishing to add aircraft would contact the Ministry to nod to it, the first consent would be taken from AI if it planned to operate on the route in question.
“This used to delay the whole process and contributed to the problem of airlines underutilizing the flight rights at the expense of those who could have done so,”[ads1]; said people with knowledge.
Demand for international air traffic rights will soon increase, as Air India and AI Express are expected to add international routes under the Tata.
IndiGo had major international expansion plans from mid-2024.
Billionaire investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala’s upcoming Akasa hopes to have a fleet of 20 aircraft by next year and will then apply for international flight rights. So the move comes just ahead of the expected increase in demand.
In this situation, the only requirement is for the airlines to operate the flight rights they are seeking and not sit on them without putting out planes.
¬ęThe traffic rights allocated to an airline for a specific route period shall be fully utilized by it in the same route period. Failure to do so will result in the unused rights being returned to the Ministry of Aviation at the end of the route period for which they were allocated, and the Ministry will be free to allocate them to other airlines. The defaulted airline can also re-apply if it so wishes, but its priority for the allocation of rights will be considered the lowest among all applicants, “the guidelines state.
In case airlines apply for routes that go beyond services allowed in bilateral agreements or air service agreements (ASAs) between India and the destination country, flights connecting small cities directly with foreign destinations will be preferred. “If the available traffic rights are not sufficient to cover the requirements reflected in the applications, the allocation shall first be made to satisfy the requirement in any application for operations from a non-metro airport …”

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