India Has Signed Bilateral Air Service Agreement With 116 Countries:
India has signed a bilateral air service agreement with 116 countries including neighbouring Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Pakistan along with the US, UK, UAE etc
- Airline can operate to/from a point in India: Any designated foreign airline can operate to/from a point in India if it is designated as a point of call in the bilateral Air Services Agreement (ASA) signed between India and the country which has designated the airline.
- Free to mount scheduled operations: Indian designated carriers are free to mount scheduled operations to/from any international airport, including Kannur International Airport, under the ambit of bilateral ASAs concluded by India with foreign countries.
- Operating passenger services: Currently, due to a significant imbalance in the number of points of call in favour of foreign carriers, the Government of India is not granting any non-metro airport as a new point of call to any foreign carrier for the purpose of operating passenger services.
India’s Open Sky Policy:
- The National Civil Aviation Policy (2016) allows the government to enter into an ‘open sky’ air services agreement on a reciprocal basis with South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) nations as well as countries beyond a 5,000 km radius from New Delhi.
- It implies that nations within 5,000 kilometres of distance need to enter into a bilateral agreement and mutually determine the number of flights that their airlines can operate between the two countries.
- India has open sky agreements with Greece, Jamaica, Guyana, Finland, the USA, Japan, etc.
- The degree of “sky openness” depends on the freedoms of the air in the country granted to foreign airlines.
- There are 9 such freedoms according to the 1944 Convention on International Civil Aviation