New Delhi: India and Saudi Arabia have agreed to allow their airlines to add more flights between the two countries and ply a larger number of routes, India’s Civil Aviation Ministry said in a statement.
Saudi Arabia is a lucrative destination for Indian airlines as it has a large expatriate Indian population and also attracts over 100,000 Indians during the annual Haj pilgrimage.
Saudi and Indian carriers can now fly up to 20,000 passengers per week between the two destinations, up from the 8,500 permitted earlier, starting immediately.
Currently, 58 flights, operated by state-run Air India and Saudi Arabian Airlines, link the two countries.
Jet Airways, the only private Indian airline which is permitted to fly abroad, has also applied to fly the route, a company spokesman said.
The agreement allows Saudi airlines to add three more Indian cities to their routes, while Indian carriers can now fly to the holy city of Medina, in addition to Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam.
India and South Arabia have also decided to free up all limitations on cargo services. There will be no restriction in terms of frequency for operating cargo services.