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DGCA withdraws preferential status for Air India in international traffic rights

According to a report by The Hindustan Times, two months after Tata Sons took control of Air India from the government, India’s former national carrier will no longer enjoy a priority in the allocation of international traffic rights, according to a revised set of guidelines issued by aviation watchdog, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

DGCA dropped the clause which gave the former state-owned airline an advantage over other private airlines in its revised guideline issues on April 19.

The deleted clause said, “Due consideration shall be given to operational plans submitted by Air India before allocation of the traffic rights to other eligible applicants.” This clause was part of the Guidelines for Grant of Permission to Indian Air Transport Undertakings for Operation of Scheduled International Air Transport Services, which was issued on March 15, 2017.

Bilateral air service agreements are negotiated between governments. The number of flights and destinations that airlines can operate between two countries are determined by these factors. These entitlements, which are expressed as a number of seats or flights per week, are traded on a reciprocal basis. In India, the government holds the entitlements and grants them to an airline upon request.

121 countries have signed air service agreements with India. Despite being part of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the civil aviation ministry has inked separate agreements with Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, and Ras Al-Khaimah.

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