New Delhi/Mumbai: As Jet-Etihad talks over equity investment continued, the premier Indian carrier has sought expansion of air service capacity between India and Abu Dhabi by three-folds and allowing it to operate code-share flights with the Gulf carrier to 23 cities here by 2016.
Urging the government to initiate talks with Abu Dhabi on the bilateral air services agreement, Jet has written to the Civil Aviation Ministry seeking its nod for expanding its services through Abu Dhabi and expansion of bilateral aviation ties with that country.
Similarly, other carriers have also sought massive expansion in their weekly schedules, with IndiGo demanding over 5,000 more flights, SpiceJet 5,936 more and Air India 2,400 additional services, official sources said.
Following this, Civil Aviation Ministry officials held a meeting with representatives of airlines earlier this week to seek their justification for enhancing air services.
Under the current bilateral agreement with Abu Dhabi, Indian carriers are jointly allowed to operate 13,300 seats each week on that route, with two per cent operational flexibility on this capacity.
In its application, Jet is understood to have planned to connect to 23 Indian cities with Abu Dhabi in the long and medium term, requiring over 41,000 seats per week by 2016.
Given the requirements, it suggested that the existing capacity entitlements of Indian carriers under the bilateral agreement be expanded by over 40,000 seats and urged the government to expand the India-Abu Dhabi bilaterals by almost 54,000 seats each week.