UK-India to increase flights in bid to boost trade and tourism

By Simon Jones |

UK and India have agreed a deal to ease restrictions on flights between the two nations

The UK and India yesterday agreed to ease restrictions on the number of scheduled flights between the two countries following successful talks in New Delhi this week between officials from both governments.

Formerly restricted flights from Chennai and Kolkata have had their restrictions lifted, allowing for a greater range of flights for passengers, and in the process boosting trade and tourism for both countries. The British Government has signalled that India is a key priority post-Brexit, and this move reinforces the desire to strengthen ties between the two countries.

The agreement also opens all destinations in U.K for Indian carriers for code share flights and reciprocally, the UK carriers can also operate code share flights to any international airport in India, through domestic code share arrangements.

India is a rapidly expanding and important market for aviation and the agreement signed today will allow airlines to develop new services and air routes.

UK Aviation Minister, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon said:

“India is one of our closest allies and key trading partners and this new agreement will only serve to strengthen this crucial relationship. This is great news for both the UK and India and is yet another sign that we are open for business and ready to build new, and strengthen our existing, trade links.”

With around two and half million passengers flying direct between the UK and India each year, and 88 scheduled services per week in each direction between the two countries, the agreement today will open up even more routes and opportunities.

Ashok Gajapathi Raju, Minister for Civil Aviation, Government of India said:

“The increase in number of flights between the UK and India is good news for our businesses and tourists. We already enjoy strong ties with the UK and we welcome such closer associations which in the long run will encourage further businesses between our two countries in the civil aviation sector.”

Tourism from India makes an important contribution to the UK economy. In 2015, there were 422,000 visits from India to the UK, bringing more than £433 million to the economy.

The agreement was formally signed during a visit to India by Lord Ahmad this week, where he led a delegation of British companies for the CAPA India Aviation Summit 2017 in Mumbai. P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju signed on behalf of India.

Meeting with the Indian Minister for Aviation P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju, Minister of State at the Ministry of Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha and India’s leading airlines, Lord Ahmad encouraged Indian businesses to partner with UK aerospace companies to capitalise on Britain’s world-class aviation expertise.

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