Number of direct flights between India and Russia will increase in the near future. This is evidenced by the beginning of negotiations between the countries on the revision of the current bilateral agreement on air traffic. The signing of the new document will allow Russian airlines to increase the frequency of flights to India, all the more they seek to expand the territory of their activities at the expense of those countries where it is possible today.
Indian authorities have given Russia permission in principle to operate 64 flights to the country every week. According to The Hindu, the current bilateral agreement between the two countries will be amended to allow Russia today to operate 52 weekly civilian flights to India.
With seven flights per week, Aeroflot is currently the only airline operating direct flights between the two countries. Previously, Air India flew its Boeing 787 Dreamliner to Moscow, but the program was interrupted due to events in Ukraine.
In fairness, the current agreement is still at the initial stage of development, and it needs to be brought “to mind”. The Hindu believes that it will be some time before Russia can actually use the expanded quotas.
The decision to increase the frequency of flights to India came after negotiations last month. Indian Minister of Civil Aviation Rajiv Bansal visited Moscow with a delegation and met with Russian officials to discuss bilateral cooperation in the field of passenger transportation. The discussion was held within the framework of the ninth session of the Indian-Russian Subcommittee on Cooperation in the Field of Civil Aviation.
As of early March, bilateral agreements between India and Russia allow Russian airlines to reach six destinations in India. These are Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta, Goa, Amritsar and Ahmedabad. Indian carriers could also theoretically fly to six Russian destinations, including Moscow and St. Petersburg.
The report highlights the Indian Air Ministry's reluctance to provide other cities as new ports of entry for overseas airlines due to “significant imbalance in favor of foreign carriers”.
Events in Ukraine have affected aviation around the world, forcing many airlines to reduce or even suspend a number of popular routes. Carriers, depending on relations with Russia, either get an advantage or go at a loss. For example, Chinese and Indian airlines can freely use Russian airspace and operate flights using less fuel compared to other carriers who have to choose longer routes for similar flights.
Russian carriers have made some progress over the past year in terms of restoring the route network, but, of course, not everywhere and not in everything. Thus, according to experts, they have lost about 20 percent of their market share on the Middle East routes.
Since major aircraft manufacturers, primarily Boeing and Airbus, are also leaving the country, a big question remains about the airworthiness of the flight fleet, given the limited capacity for maintenance and spare parts.
However, the head of the Federal Air Transport Agency — Federal Air Transport Agency of Russia — Alexander Neradko recently stated that he is convinced that Airbus and Boeing aircraft will continue to fly safely until the end of the decade.