FILE PHOTO: Indian Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia speaks during an event to lay the foundation stone of the Noida International Airport in Jewar on November 25, 2021. (Photo by MONEY SHARMA/AFP via Getty Images)
INDIA and Canada on Wednesday (4) discussed expansion of a bilateral air service agreement that will allow more flights between the two countries.
Union aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, who is on a nine-day visit to the US and Canada, met Canadian transport minister Omar Alghabra on Wednesday.
“I personally thanked my counterpart for India’s help in repatriating Canadians stuck in India in the beginning of the pandemic,” Alghabra stated on Twitter after the meeting.
Canada has a huge number of people of Indian descent in its total population. Alghabra said he had a productive meeting with Scindia regarding issues of mutual importance to Canada and India.
“We spoke about expanding the Air Transport Agreement allowing for more flights between the two countries. Further cooperation at International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) on Annex 13 and other issues,” he mentioned.
He said he is looking forward to more conversations to open up travel between the two countries including flights to Amritsar.
For the airlines of a particular country to operate international flights to another country, the two sides have to negotiate and sign a “bilateral air services agreement”, which decides how many flights (or seats) per week can be allowed to fly from one country to the other.
Once such an agreement is signed, each country is free to allocate the bilateral rights to its respective airlines. Even after such flying rights are allocated to an airline, it must have slots at both the airports in order to start flight operations.
A slot is a date and time at which an airline’s aircraft is permitted to depart or arrive at an airport. The slots are allocated by a committee that consists of civil aviation ministry and regulatory officials, airport operators and airlines, among others.