“As per Summer Schedule 2016, Indian air carriers are utilising 2,63,465 seats per week while the foreign air carriers are utilising 4,65,504 seats per week to/from India,” Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.
The figures are based on weekly seat entitlements pertaining to 53 countries with which India has air service agreements. Sinha was responding to a query on whether local carriers are able to utilise a mere half of the seats operated by foreign airlines to and from India. The summer schedule extends from the last Sunday of March to the last Saturday of October. It starts from March 27. Under an air service agreement, airlines from the countries would be entitled to have a stipulated number of seats which they can operate between them. As per the data, Indian airlines do not utilise their seat entitlements to certain countries while carriers from those nations are utilising their entitlements.
Such countries include Bhutan, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, Iraq, Israel, Kenya, Mauritius, Pakistan, Seychelles, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tajikistan and Turkey. Meanwhile, in a separate written reply, Sinha said Chhattisgarh government has requested for development of airports at Bilaspur, Jagdalpur, and Ambikapur in the state. Bilaspur airport is non-operational and the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has agreed to hand it over to the Army subject to certain conditions. The conditions are that AAI would retain 53 acres of land area for development of a civil enclave at the airport, the Minister said.
Jagdalpur and Ambikapur airstrips belong to the state government of Chhattisgarh.
On the request of the state government, AAI has carried out a pre-feasibility study at Jagdalpur airport and has found the airport suitable for usage of 2C aircraft in Visual Flight Rules (VFR) conditions.
“At present, AAI does not have any plan to develop Ambikapur airport,” Sinha said. To another question about setting up a greenfield airport at Sriperumbudur near Chennai, Tamil Nadu, the Minister said AAI conducted a pre-feasibility study in this regard on the request of the state government. “However, so far the Ministry has not received any proposal either from state government or private developer for construction of greenfield airport near Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu,” Sinha said.