With Chinese Carriers Looking To Fly More Into India, Beijing Sends New Delhi Proposal To Increase Seat AllotmentsAn Aie China Boeing 747 at Zurich (Kambui/Flickr)

With the hostilities between India and China slowly thawing, Chinese Airline companies are looking at a colossal expansion towards Indian skies, reports Business Standard. India’s northern neighbour has sent in an official proposal to double seat allotments for Chinese carriers. India and China wrote their air service agreements last in 2008.

Seat allocations are likely to be made under a new rule that proposes granting additional flying rights for countries where Indian airlines have utilised less than 33 per cent of the capacity permitted. In such sectors, the government is mulling giving an increase in seats proportional to the average growth in the past three years.

The matter was reportedly taken up by Chinese President Xi Jinping when he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Wuhan last week.

The current air service agreement allows for 42 flights per week from both countries. While Chinese airlines have utilised their allocation completely with major flights arriving at Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata, Air India is the only carrier from this side to fly to Shanghai.

However, desi carriers are now looking to fly to China as well with IndiGo and SpiceJet planning to use Airbus A 321 LR and Boeing 737 Max aircraft respectively.

China’a aggressive expansion into Indian airspace is being seen as an expansion of their Belt Road Initiative (BRI). Under the BRI, China is setting up aviation hubs at Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzou in order to maintain a level of supremacy in the aviation sector. With India being the third-largest aviation market in the world, it is possibly a critical segment of China’s expansionist policies.

Chinese carriers are able to provide extremely low cost flights due to heavy subsidies from the government. However, Indian officials feel that China would have to step up its game in the food and language component in order to compete with Gulf carriers that have a huge market share in India.

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