NEW DELHI: Britain has urged India for more flight slots at Delhi and Mumbai airports while its state-run carrier British Airways (BA) is now moving ahead for a tie-up with Indian carriers to fly to more international airports in the country.
The two countries on February 9 signed an open sky pact to ease restrictions on the number of scheduled flights between the two countries and scrap limits on flights from key Indian cities including Chennai and Kolkata, Express had reported.
Top government sources said that the British Airways is exploring with Indian carriers for a profitable routes to link London with few potential international airports in India, where it does not fly now.
There are 23 international airports in the country, of which BA currently flies to cities like Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Delhi and Mumbai.
A senior airline official who did not wished to be named said that the British Airways is in talks with carriers to explore a business model where they can fly beyond the five international airports in India where they currently have services.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has stated that “British carriers can also operate code share flights to any international airport in India, through domestic code share arrangements” under the newly signed open sky pact between the two countries.
The pact has opened up all destinations in the Britain for Indian carriers for code share flights, and on reciprocally basis.
Foreign airlines are all out to grab more flying slots at Indian airports to get a bigger share in India’s civil aviation sector market, that is growing at over 20 per cent annually.
The Indian aviation sector is all set to develop as third largest globally by 2020, according to international aviation bodies like International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO and Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation.
On the other hand, The United Kingdom government also wants Indian carriers to fly beyond the slot-constrained London Heathrow airport and add flights to other cities like Glasgow, Birmingham and Manchester.
Currently Air India and Jet Airways operate to London’s Heathrow airport and has been asking for more flight slots but due to slot constraints, their demand has not been met. Air India also flies to Birmingham at present.