Turkish Airlines (THY) CEO Bilal Eksi expressed concerns over the current air traffic regulations that limit the flight capacity between Türkiye and India, saying they are looking for cooperation with Indian airlines as the carrier looks to expand in the region.
During his speech at the CAPA India Aviation Summit, Ekşi said the existing regulations do not allow for sufficient air travel between the two countries, impacting the market share of THY in India.
Ekşi stressed the importance of cooperation with Indian carriers to support both countries’ tourism sectors. Türkiye is also a popular destination for lavish Indian weddings.
While the airline is partnering with IndiGo through a codeshare agreement, Eksi stated they are open to working with other airlines, including Air India.
He clarified that the strategic cooperation agreement with Indigo does not prevent them from working with other airlines.
Similarly, regarding the insufficient regulations, the head of Emirates said Indian airlines would lose financially due to traffic quotas between India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which the Dubai carrier believes should be increased.
The UAE has asked the Indian government to approve 50,000 extra seats between the UAE and India. Indian civil aviation minister however told Reuters on Tuesday that it was not considering increasing existing traffic limits.
At the summit, Emirates airline President Tim Clark said that he saw scope for “at least double” the weekly limit of 65,000 seats and regretted India’s position, as revealed in a Reuters interview earlier on Tuesday.
“It is such a big market. It is not as if the cake is static. The cake is growing,” he said.
Clark downplayed talk of a rivalry with fast-growing Indian carriers and said he did not look at Air India as an adversary or feel threatened by it in the wake of a vast plane order.
But he warned Indian carriers would themselves be penalized by curbs on traffic.
“The Indian carriers who have been so prolific in grabbing their share of the value chain, are short-changing themselves to the tune of about a billion dollars a year” due to the traffic restrictions, he told the conference.
Clark told reporters he hoped the UAE and India would resolve the questions about bilateral flying rights.
“We hope that the government will recognize the power of what we’re talking about and that the Indian carriers will also, including Air India, say ‘this is good for us,'” Clark said on the sidelines of the CAPA India conference.
“I’m sure there will be a realization; hopefully, the governments will have a meeting of the minds and get that sorted,” Clark added, saying that it was too soon to see any changes in premium demand due to the ongoing turmoil in the banking sector.