The government's liberal aviation policy granting foreign carriers to operate out of the country in lucrative routes have "marginalised" Indian airlines, both public and private, say Air India unions.
The unions want the government to give out the bilateral air traffic rights only when Indian carriers have inducted new and adequate number of aircraft matching the capacity and strength of the foreign airlines.
The Civil Aviation Joint Action Forum, an umbrella body of several Air India unions including those representing pilots and cabin crew, claims that foreign carriers have taken advantage of the liberalised air traffic rights whereas carriers like Air India and Jet Airways have suffered as they do not have enough capacity or aircraft to fly to cities in these countries.
It says AI is operating seven flights a week while British Airways has 21. Similarly, Lufthansa has 32 flights to India with seven entry points, while AI has four services to Germany with single entry point.
The CAJAF says the new bilaterals with several governments, including the US, UK and European Union, have led to an "absolute increase" of 10,36,330 seats between December 2003 and June 2008.
And the weekly seat capacity into India in the last four years have grown by a whopping 356 per cent, with foreign airlines making the most of it.