The privatized Air India loses priority in international traffic rights


Air India will no longer enjoy priority in the award of international traffic rights. This follows the acquisition by Tata Sons in January.

The General Directorate of Civil Aviation has removed a clause that Air India included in the June 19



The rules deal with airline eligibility criteria for applying for traffic rights, procedures for allocation, use and penalties for non-use.

The earlier rule stated that “due consideration must be given to the operational plans submitted by Air India before traffic rights are allocated to other eligible applicants”.

This clause has now been removed following the privatization of Air India. “All airlines are now equal. It’s a positive step,” noted a senior airline executive.

Governments negotiate bilateral aviation agreements with each other. These determine the number of flights and destinations that airlines can operate between two countries. These entitlements in the form of number of seats or flights per week are mutually exchanged. In India, claims are held by the government and granted to an airline upon request.

India has signed aviation agreements with 121 countries. The Civil Aviation Ministry has signed separate agreements with Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Ras Al-Khaimah, although they are part of the United Arab Emirates.

Before the pandemic, India was connected to around 55 countries with non-stop flights. That number has fallen further in the summer timetable, which went into effect at the end of March.

Air India and Air India Express have secured approvals to operate 361 and 340 international departures per week respectively in the summer schedule. This includes flights within Asia as well as to Australia, Europe and North America. Flights to Russia have recently been suspended due to aircraft insurance issues.

According to the offering document released in January 2020, Air India made only partial use of its allocated seats on routes to Malaysia, Singapore and West Asia.

Air India did not respond to an email inquiry regarding this issue.

“The rule was particularly beneficial when demand for seats outweighed available entitlements. On such occasions, Air India would be granted the desired number of seats and other private airlines would be asked to moderate their requirements,” a source said.

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has endeavored to provide timely information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have broader political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback to improve what we offer has only strengthened our resolve and commitment to these ideals. Even during these trying times resulting from Covid-19, we remain committed to keeping you informed and informed with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on timely and relevant issues.
However, we have a request.

As we fight the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more so that we can continue to bring you higher quality content. Our subscription model has had an encouraging response from many of you who have subscribed to our online content. More subscriptions to our online content can only help us achieve our goals of bringing you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practice the journalism we are dedicated to.

Support quality journalism and Subscribe to Business Standard.

digital editor

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.