India Denies United-Emirates Codeshare Request

DALLAS — The Indian government recently rejected United Airlines’ (UA) request to codeshare with Emirates (EK) despite the agreement between the two airlines.

United had requested that the Indian government place its code on EK flights departing from India. As part of the agreement, UA was planning to sell and market EK flights on 27 routes, including eight in India. In exchange, UA would use the ‘UA’ flight code on these flights and take a cut of the revenue from each ticket sold.

What was at stake, and why was the UA request denied by the Indian government?

A6-EPZ Emirates Boeing 777-31HER KBOS/BOS. Photo: Marty Basaria/Airways

Two’s Company, Three’s a Crowd

According to The Economic Times (TET), the reason for the codeshare refusal within India is that the UA-EK codeshare arrangement does not fall under the traffic rights agreement already in place between India and Dubai, which prohibits any other airline from interfering with the bilateral air services agreement.

What’s interesting is that the Dubai government attempted to modify said air services agreement so that Dubai-based airlines could better penetrate the Indian market, but the Indian government also declined the request, according to The bilateral agreement limits the number of available seats on flights between Dubai and India to 66,000 per week.

Sir Tim Clark, President of EK since January 2003, told TET, “India has always been a bit mysterious when it comes to giving access to Emirates,” Clark said on the sidelines of the annual conference of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in Istanbul.

“This stance doesn’t help anybody as it is a country with high GDP growth and a large non-resident Indian population who wants to travel. I don’t think this stance does anybody a favour.”

VT-EXN, Air India, Airbus, A320Neo, A32N, WSSS, SIN, Singapore, Changi International Airport. Photo: Jden Lee/Airways

Protecting the Next Big Market

Indeed India has been protecting its aviation industry because it knows it is a rapidly growing market in the global aviation industry, with an increasing number of travelers choosing to fly both domestically and internationally, the latter of which is handled largely by foreign carriers.

For context, Boeing anticipates that South Asian airlines will purchase 2,210 new passenger aircraft during the next two decades, including “227 widebodies and 1,983 single-aisle aircraft.” Additionally, it anticipates the delivery of 80 freighters but no regional aircraft.

“The Indian market is rebounding quickly, its domestic capacity has surpassed 2019 levels, and by the end of this decade, domestic traffic is anticipated to quadruple,” said Dave Schulte, managing director for Asia Pacific at Boeing Commercial Marketing.

Do you think this was the right move by the Indian government? Be sure to leave your comments on our social media channels.

Featured image: Come Fly With Us. Emirates • United Airlines. Washington Dulles International Airport, Dulles, Virginia, September 14th, 2022. Photo: Emirates/J. David Buerk: @DavidBuerkPhoto. Article source: Paddle Your Own Kanoo.

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