New Delhi: The government on 14 September opened up the lucrative Gulf route to domestic private airlines, with Naresh Goyal-promoted Jet Airways becoming the first to get the nod to fly to the region from1 January next year.
Until now, only Air India and Indian (now merged to form Air India) were allowed to operate on the Middle East and Gulf route.
As per the decision of the government, scheduled Indian private airlines were not allowed to operate international flights to and from Gulf till the end of 2007. The Gulf routes were served only by the Indian public carriers till then, an official statement said.
Jet Airways was granted traffic rights on the Gulf and Middle East routes at a meeting of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation last evening, it said.
Jet has been permitted to carry 3,682 passengers to Kuwait per week from three destinations in India. Of the 3,682 seats, 1,582 would be from the Delhi-Kuwait route while an equal 1,050 on Trivandrum-Kuwait and Kochi-Kuwait routes, the statement said.
Besides, Jet can also fly 3,150 passengers to Oman per week on three routes Kochi-Muscat and Trivandrum-Muscat and Calicut-Muscat.
The airliner has been given permission to connect Calicut and Mumbai to Qatar’s capital city Doha, where it can carry a maximum of 2,100 passengers per week.
Similarly, Jet can operate 2,100 seats to Bahrain, of which 1,050 can be on the Mumbai-Bahrain and 1,050 on Kochi-Bahrain route.
Jet Airways had applied for traffic rights on the India-Gulf, Middle East routes on July 18 this year.
While the government has cleared Jet’s application to operate on a majority of routes, it said the airliner’s application to fly on India-Dubai and India-Abu Dhabi route was still being considered.
“The company had asked for rights on routes to Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Their request for grant of traffic rights on India-Dubai and India -Abu Dhabi routes is under the consideration of the Government,” the statement said.
The total entitlement for Indian carriers on the Gulf routes at present is 85,481 seats per week, of which 21,950 are for Dubai, 7,420 for Abu Dhabi, 10,206 for Sharjah, 8,000 for Kuwait, 10,892 for Qatar, 7,546 for Oman, 10,967 for Bahrain and 8,500 for Saudi Arabia.
The utilisation by Indian carriers of the available Gulf routes is 49,348 seats per week, the statement said.