The UAE is keen to have an open sky agreement with India, its Ambassador to India A.R. Albanna said on Wednesday.
“You need to have an open sky policy. You cannot be protective and at the same time say you want to become a hub. Open sky policy and fifth and sixth freedoms are two separate issues,” Mr. Albanna said at a webinar organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
There are about 1,068 flights a week between India and the UAE operated by the airlines of the two countries under the bilateral Air Service Agreement.
India has a open skies policy with SAARC countries and those beyond the 5,000-km radius, which implies that nations within this distance need to enter into a bilateral agreement and mutually determine the number of flights that their airlines can operate between the two countries.
It is this policy that the Ambassador wants India to revisit.
Mr. Albanna sought to underline that this would not bestow the capability to operate flights from one country and fly them to a third country, which is also referred to as fifth and six freedoms of air, and where the interest of Indian airlines will be threatened by carriers like Emirates and Etihad.
Addressing the webinar, Usha Padhee, Joint Secretary at Ministry of Civil Aviation, said that although 2.7 million passengers have been flown on domestic airlines since May 25, there have only been 800 COVID-19 positive cases.