Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia on Thursday said it is prepared to hold talks with India in a bid to resolve an air dispute over flights to Malaysia by Indian carriers.
Reports had said that the Indian civil aviation authority has warned of a ban on Malaysian national carrier Malaysian Airlines if domestic carriers Air-India Express and Air Sahara were not allowed to land in Kuala Lumpur.
Transport minister Chan Kong Choy said Malaysia has already granted landing rights to Air Sahara and hoped to meet his Indian counterpart T.R. Baalu.
“On the Malaysian side, we have been very accommodative. We have granted Air Sahara the rights. We are looking into landing rights for Air-India Express,” he told AFP.
“I welcome my counterpart to Malaysia for talks. I am also planning a trip to India to foster ties,” he said.
Chan said Malaysia values its relations with India, a growing economic giant in Asia, adding the air links between the two countries was crucial for closer economic ties.
“We value so much the relations with New Delhi. There is a lot of potential in the area of tourism, investment and trade,” he said.
It was reported that the Directorate General of Civil Aviation of India has already served a show cause notice on Malaysia, threatening to stop the Malaysian carrier’s flights to India.
The dispute with Malaysia follows Kuala Lumpur’s alleged refusal to allow Air-India Express and Air Sahara to operate flights to Malaysia, the report said.
The Indian government has nominated these carriers to utilise part of the bilateral rights available to India. Air-India, the parent of Air-India Express, and Jet Airways already operate flights to Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysia Airlines mounts 27 flights a week to India. The air route between the two countries is considered fast growing and lucrative.