Seeking to give a big boost to international air travel out of India, the Civil Aviation Ministry in an unprecedented measure, on Friday gave its nod for the summer and winter season of 2013 in one go, granting new rights to domestic Indian carriers to fly to several new destinations across the globe.

The new cities that would stand connected now include Rome, Madrid, Barcelona, Sydney, Melbourne, Nairobi, Al Najaf (Iraq), Moscow, Zurich, Macau, Tashkent and Ho Chi Minh City.

At the same time, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh, who has adopted a pro-active approach to deal with the issues pertaining to the aviation sector, also directed holding of fresh bilateral negotiations to enhance air traffic rights with countries like those in the Gulf and South-East Asia, with whom the existing rights have almost got exhausted, an official statement issued here said on Friday.

These countries include Singapore, Thailand, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Iraq, Macao and Afghanistan. Air India and its no-frill subsidiary Air India Express have got their number of flights enhanced from 471 in 2012 summer to 650 in 2013 summer and from 577 in 2012 winter to 691 in the same season next year.

Air India has also got the rights for the first time to fly on sectors like Delhi-Rome-Madrid/Barcelona, Delhi-Moscow, Delhi-Sydney/Melbourne, Mumbai-Nairobi and Mumbai-Al Najaf. Similarly, Jet Airways has been given the rights to operate on routes like Mumbai-Jakarta, Delhi-Barcelona, Mumbai-Zurich, Delhi-Tashkent and Mumbai-Ho Chi Minh City. The number of its flights has gone up from 417 in 2012 summer to 539 in 2013 and 497 this winter to 602 in 2013. No-frill carriers IndiGo and SpiceJet have also got enhanced number of flights, with the latter being allowed to fly on Lucknow-Al Najaf, Varanasi-Al Najaf, Delhi-Macau and Delhi-Ho Chi Minh City.

RELATED NEWS

FDI in aviation: Ajit Singh hopes for consensusSeptember 10, 2012