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Private airlines may fly to South East Asia
Bipin Chandran in New Delhi | July 16, 2004 10:08 IST
The government will soon permit scheduled Indian private carriers to fly to South East Asian countries. This opens the way for carriers like Jet Airways, Air Deccan and Air Sahara to fly to more lucrative destinations like Singapore and Bangkok.
The government currently permits private carriers to fly to Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Government sources said that the permission is to fly daily flights to some of the key hubs like Singapore in the region.
Sources also said that the government has taken up the issue of increasing connections to Singapore recently.
It was pointed out that when additional capacity is added between the two countries through additional bilateral agreements, Indian private airlines will be allowed to fly and designate them as national carriers.
However, flying to regions like the Gulf, Europe and the US may have to wait for some time as the government has not taken a view on opening up these markets.
The government had opened the door for private domestic carriers to fly abroad, after the union cabinet gave its nod a few months ago to allow them to operate to SAARC countries.
Private Indian carriers have been pushing for permission to fly to countries other than SAARC as these routes are more lucrative than the existing sector.
The government is likely to call a meeting of the private airlines in this regard and to work out issues like slots as well as schedule of flying.
"The meeting will decide on issues like landing slots and flying schedule," the source said.
Sources also said that the meeting is also expected to take stalk of the preparedness of these airlines to fly to these international destinations as well agreements with respective airports with regard to landing slots.Airlines like Jet Airways have started preliminary discussions with various airports to start services. Sources also said that the airlines will also be required to sort out logistic issues like time table, fares as well as domestic links.