More airlines to operate between India and Switzerland

More airlines to operate between India and Switzerland

Swiss Federal President Alain Berset, right, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, shake hands prior to a meeting one day before the start of the 48th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, WEF, in Davos, Switzerland. (AP Photo)

The Cabinet on Tuesday approved signing of the protocol to amend the air services agreement between India and Switzerland, which will allow a number of airlines to start flight operations between the two countries.

"It will provide enabling environment for enhanced and seamless connectivity while providing commercial opportunities to the carriers of both the sides ensuring greater safety and security," said a government press release.

The release added that under the amendments, multiple airlines would be allowed to conduct operations between the two countries. Till date, only two airlines were permitted.

As per the amendments, the "designated airlines" would be free to decide reasonable tariff without resorting to anti-competitive and predatory behaviour, the release said.

According to the press release, the amendments state that "designated airline(s) of each country may use aircraft leased from other company or airline(s), but lessor not to exercise the rights it doesn't have".

Before a country's airline can operate international flights, a "bilateral air services agreement" has to be negotiated to decide how many total flights (or seats) each week can be allowed from one nation to another.

The agreement also notifies the number of destinations in each country to which flight operations can be conducted by other country's airline.

The number of airlines that can fly between both countries will also be decided in the air services agreement.

"The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the signing of the protocol to amend the agreement between the Swiss Federal Council and the Government of India related to air services and to exchange diplomatic notes with Switzerland for bringing the amendments in the air services agreement into force," the press release said.