Some of the world’s major airlines are looking to India for expansion and are applying to the country’s aviation authority for a larger allocation of seats and access to more airports. However, they are facing a battle with India’s own international and domestic carriers as they too aim to expand. Among the carriers looking for greater access to the sub-continent are Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, Qatar and Emirates.
According to officials, Emirates already has a weekly allowance of 54,000 seats. Qatar has 23,000 and both airlines are looking to expand their business. Lufthansa said it would like to start flying its Airbus A380s to and from India, and this will obviously require a larger seat allocation.
Since 2009, the number of seats being offered has increased by fewer than 9,000. Officials say these were offered to Qatar, but that the airline is still not using all of them. The aviation authority said that instead of increasing the number of seats offered to foreign carriers; it would like to see Indian grown airlines taking a more prominent position on the international stage.
Jet Airways, which currently flies between Bombay and Milan on a daily basis has been permitted to add Bombay to Rome to its itinerary. The airline will also be the first Indian carrier to fly passengers between Bombay and Amsterdam.
At present, four out of every 10 international flights in and out of India are by Indian airlines. The aviation authority said that over the coming months it hoped that this figure would grow by at least 10 per cent.