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India opens skies for all airlines for 3 months

October 17, 2003 18:00 IST

The government on Friday decided to extend 'open sky' policy to all foreign airlines, including those from the Persian Gulf for three months in the peak winter season, subject to commercial arrangements with the national flag carriers.

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In an order issued on Friday, the civil aviation ministry extended the policy for December 2003 to February 2004, top ministry sources told PTI.

This order, signed by Civil Aviation Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy, would allow all foreign carriers -- from Europe, North America, Southeast Asia and the Gulf -- to operate additional capacity by way of larger aircraft or more flights to enhance tourist traffic.

The decision comes in the wake of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's recent announcement about such a policy for the Asean nations. Rudy had earlier announced that bilateral air traffic agreements would be reviewed in a comprehensive manner.

The sources said the ministry had sought a feedback from all airlines, especially those from North America, West Europe and Southeast Asia, as to whether they would require to deploy additional capacity during the peak winter season in 2003-04 and 2004-05.

A circular issued to all carriers of these three regions by the director general of civil aviation had stated that the open sky policy for these two years would be "under the existing commercial agreement with Air-India and Indian Airlines".

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