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India, Russia sort out differences on flights

Vladimir Radyuhin

Agreement reached at talks in Moscow on June 14


  • Designated airlines will continue to be permitted to over-fly
  • Capacity entitlements up from 46 to 52 weekly frequencies for both sides

    MOSCOW: India has secured Russia's commitment to allow unrestricted use of its airspace for Indian flights to Europe.

    On its part, Moscow has obtained Delhi's consent to increase the frequency of Russian flights to Indian cities.

    The agreement was reached at talks here on June 14. It is an update of the 2006 aviation pact.

    The talks were called last month after a row over flying rights, with both sides trading threats to ban each other from using their airspace.

    The row broke out when Russia, frustrated at India's feet-dragging on request for talks to enhance bilateral traffic rights, threatened to suspend Indian from flying in its airspace. India in turn vowed to stop all Russian airlines from entering its airspace.

    At the last moment, the two sides backed away from their threats, agreeing to hold talks here.

    The negotiators — Joint Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, R.K. Singh, and Russian Chief Negotiator, Department of State Policy in Civil Aviation, G. Loschenov, "expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the discussions," according to the Indian Embassy here.

    "A mutually beneficial agreement was reached, under which the designated airlines of the two countries will continue to be permitted to over-fly the territory of the other country without restrictions," the Indian Embassy said in a press release on Friday.

    "Capacity entitlements were increased from 46 to 52 weekly frequencies for both sides," it said.

    The increased flight frequency will benefit the Russian side, as no Indian carrier operates any flights to Russia.

    Air India scrapped its once-weekly Moscow-Delhi route several years ago after entering into a code-sharing agreement with Aeroflot.

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