Middle East airlines are taking traffic from India to transfer it elsewhere, says Air India CEO Campbell Wilson



Air India CEO Campbell Wilson has called for limiting market access to foreign carriers saying opening up the Indian market would put its investment at risk.

Middle East carriers such as Emirates and Qatar Airways have been urging India to increase bilateral rights thereby enabling them to operate more flights. But Air India feels that granting rights would impede its performance, particularly that of its long haul flights.

Hence, India’s aviation industry stands divided over the policy of flying rights to Middle East countries. Despite Air India’s call for more protectionism, other Indian carriers such as IndiGo and Akasa are keen on launching new flights to the Middle East.

Wilson validates his cause for concern by saying that Indian carriers had recently ordered more than 1,000 aircraft, hoping that there would be a return on investment, which amounts to over $100 billion. “If the rug is pulled out from under us, and if we can’t fly those aircraft, we will not take those planes,” he said.

Indian airports, however, are anxious about Wilson’s viewpoint of restricting foreign airlines since mammoth expansion projects have been undertaken by them to accommodate a large number of planes. Hyderabad and Bengaluru airports have expanded their terminals. If the additional capacity is not utilised, it will be a big loss in business to the airports.

Research reveals the Delhi-Dubai route as one of the busiest in the world.

Wilson feels Middle East airlines are taking traffic from India only to transfer 80-90% of it to other parts of the world “to feed their own economy and their own hub”. – editor@nrifocus.com



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