The government has asked the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA) to intervene and ensure that the Dubai International Airport allots “feasible” slots to Indian carriers.
The rare intervention by the Indian government follows complaints from Indian carriers that they were being denied desired slots at Dubai International Airport (DIA) and instead offered options that weren’t “viable”.
“Both sides mutually agreed in 2014 to enhance the capacity entitlement from 54,200 to 65,200 seats. However, Indian carriers still have about 13,000 seats, which are yet to be utilised,” aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said in a letter to DCAA president Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum.
The primary reason for the low utilisation was the “non-availability of commercially and operationally feasible slots at DIA,” Raju said in the letter. “The Indian carriers have informed that they are not being provided the desired slots at Dubai airport, and Dubai Airport Authority has been turning down the requests of Indian carriers, or providing options which are not viable for operations.”
The option of shifting of operations from the DIA to the Dubai World Central airport was not commercially viable for Indian carriers as the airport was far away from the Dubai city.
Raju also pointed out that the designated carriers of the UAE such as Emirates or flydubai were being given their requested slots by Indian authorities.
“The Dubai airport has become a global hub thanks to the large Indian traffic. While the Indian government has been liberal with the bilateral-seat entitlement, Dubai airport authorities have been very rigid in dealing with Indian airlines,” a senior aviation ministry official said.