Air services between India, South Africa to get a boost

Air services between India, South Africa to get a boost

New Delhi: The air services agreement between India and South Africa would be revised and substantially expanded soon, with the government approving the Civil Aviation Ministry’s proposal today.

Under the existing agreement which governs the flights between the two nations, the designated airlines of the two countries Air India and South African Airways are allowed to operate 14 flights week each.

The proposed air services agreement would be based on the guidelines of the International Civil Aviation Organisation, the UN body which frames rules for global air travel.

Home Minister P Chidambaram told reporters here that the Union Cabinet, at its meeting today, approved the Civil Aviation Ministry’s proposal to supersede the existing agreement, signed way back in December 1998, with a revised accord.

The revised agreement would signify “an important landmark in civil aviation relations between India and South Africa. It has the potential to spur greater trade, investment, tourism and cultural exchange between the two countries," he said.

The existing agreement allows designated carriers to operate any type of aircraft to each other’s destinations, with a maximum seat limit of 5,600 per week.

It also allows the respective governments to designate more than one airline as national carriers. While only South African Airways is at present designated as a national carrier, India could designate private carriers like Jet Airways or Kingfisher Airlines, along with the already designated Air India.