India-Swiss Air Service Pact to be amended, Cabinet approves signing protocol

Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the signing of Protocol to amend the Agreement between Swiss Federal Council, the highest executive authority of Swiss Confederation and Government of India related to air services, as well as to exchange diplomatic notes with Switzerland for bringing amendments in air services agreement into force. The protocol will allow more number of airlines to start flight operations between two countries.

The Air Services Agreement decides the number of airlines that can fly between both countries. It also notifies number of destinations in each country to which flight operations can be conducted by other country’s airline.

Key Highlights of Amendments

Under the amendments, multiple airlines would be allowed to conduct operations between India and Switzerland. As of now, only two airlines are permitted.

As per the amendments, the ‘designated airlines’ of each country would be free to decide reasonable tariff without resorting to anti-competitive and predatory behaviour. Also, the designated airline(s) may use aircraft leased from other company or airline(s), but lessor not to exercise the rights it doesn’t have.

However, before a country’s airline can operate international flights, a bilateral air services agreement has to be negotiated for deciding how many total flights/ seats can be allowed from one nation to another, each week.

Significance

Amendments in Air Services Agreement between India and Switzerland will bring it in tune with developments in civil aviation sector and will also provide enabling environment for enhanced as well as seamless connectivity. It will also provide commercial opportunities to carriers of both sides ensuring greater safety and security.

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