India seeks more code-sharing to boost travel to Canada

Toronto: With no Canadian airline flying to India even as two Indian carriers touch Canada, Indian civil aviation authorities have demanded enhanced code-sharing by the Canadian national carrier Air Canada with Indian carriers to boost air travel between the two countries.

Indian civil aviation secretary Nasim Zaidi, who held talks with his Canadian counterparts and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) officials in Montreal, said that since no Canadian carrier is operating to India, “it is thus important that the code-sharing for the Canadian carrier is enhanced.

“This would help the civilian passengers and will also help promote business. This will make seamless connectivity for passengers, allowing code-sharing on third country carriers, theoretically even through airlines such as Lufthansa.”

A statement by the Indian high commission after the talks in Ottawa and Montreal (where the International Civil Organization is based), said India and Canada held “an extremely cordial and intensive discussion to enhance air connectivity between the two countries.

“This included unlimited air services for cargo; substantive liberalization of code-sharing relations between airlines; rationalization of code-sharing and inter-modal transport arrangements and simplification of clauses relating to tariff and fare structure.”

At a reception at the ICAO headquarters, Nasim Zaidi said India is celebrating 100 years of civil aviation.

With a growth rate of about 19 percent in domestic passengers in 2010, he said India has become the world’s fourth largest aviation nation after the US, China and Japan, with a passenger base of over 90 millions.

Passenger traffic in India is expected to reach 450 millions by 2020, the Indian official said.

The two sides agreed to carry forward the process during the visit of a Canadian delegation to Mumbai in October for the International Civil Aviation Negotiations Conference.

The Indian delegation included Prashant Sukul, joint secretary in the ministry of civil aviation, Narinder Chauhan, Indian deputy high commissioner, and Arun Mishra, representative of India at the ICAO headquarters in Montreal.

The Canadian delegation was led by chief air negotiator & assistant deputy minister Robert Ready.

More than 100,000 people travel from Canada to India, while the numbers are more than twice from India each year.

India-Canadian relations in various fields have received a major boost during the past two years as the two countries aim to triple their trade to $15 billion in the next four years. By Gurmukh Singh