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Dubai airport denies unfair slot treatment to Indian airlines

Dubai International Airport asserted on Monday that Indian airlines are treated at par with airlines from other countries in the allocation of flight slots, dismissing their concerns about denial of viable slots ahead of India’s air bilateral negotiation with Dubai.

“Time slot allocation is a fair process which applies equally to all airlines across the globe,” Lorne Riley, Director, Corporate Communications and Business Development at Dubai Airports said at a press briefing here.

“The allocation of arrival and departure time slots is based on the available capacity. The slots are administered by an independent company Airport Coordination Limited which is responsible for slot allocation at many other airports too,” he said.

Earlier this year, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju had written to Dubai Civil Aviation Authority President Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum raising concerns related to fair treatment of Indian airlines in terms of granting slots at the Dubai airport. Voicing airlines’ concerns, he said that the Dubai Airport Authority has been turning down the requests of Indian carriers for slots or providing unviable alternatives.

“We follow IATA [International Air Transport Association] worldwide slot guidelines. The slots are independently allocated so that ensures impartially,” Mr. Riley said.

He said airlines apply for slot while starting a flight service and their requests are granted based on availability. “The runway capacity is scarce at the Dubai airport with two runways supporting 1,100 flights on a daily basis. So, we have a high demand on our airfield. We are a busy airport,” he said.

India will soon hold talks with Dubai to increase the bilateral seat entitlements and is expected to raise the issue of poor slot allocation with them. However, Mr. Riley said the government-to-government air services negotiation is independent of slot allocation at the airport.

Even with capacity constraints, Indian airlines are the fastest growing group of airlines operating at the Dubai airport, Mr. Riley said. In last 12 months, there is a 35 per cent rise in the number of seats a 29 per cent growth in the number of flights flown by Indian airlines to the Dubai airport.

The Dubai authorities had given an option to Indian airlines to shift to its new airport Dubai World Central (DWC) from the Dubai International Airport. However, Mr. Raju had informed Dubai that DWC was far away from its city centre so it was not commercially viable for Indian carriers.

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Printable version | Oct 21, 2020 10:34:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/Dubai-airport-denies-unfair-slot-treatment-to-Indian-airlines/article16091768.ece

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