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11 Nov, 2012

Indian Carriers Get Air Traffic Rights to Historic City of Najaf, Iraq


Ministry of Civil Aviation, 9 November 2012 – The historic Islamic city of Najaf, Iraq, is among a number of cities that will be accessed by Indian carriers under new international traffic rights approved by the Union Minister of Civil Aviation Mr Ajit Singh for the next three seasons i.e. winter 2012, summer 2013 and winter 2013.

Najaf is visited by millions of Muslim pilgrims every year, including thousands from India. Most of them have to transit through points in the Gulf countries, whose airlines are also getting increasing access to Iraqi cities. Travel Impact Newswire Executive Editor Imtiaz Muqbil visited Najaf in 2010, possibly the only travel industry journalist in Asia to have visited the historic city.

Other cities in the new batch of Indian traffic rights approvals are Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta and Tashkent, amongst others.

The new allocations are expected to give a major boost to Indian carriers and spur growth of the Indian civil aviation sector as a whole by considerably improving connectivity of Indian cities with international destinations.

As the allocation for Air India and Air India Express for winter 2012 had already been approved, the present approvals for them cover summer and winter 2013. Air India and Air India Express have been allocated all traffic rights as per their requets by giving them priority over all other Indian carriers. The following tables give details of the traffic rights allocated to airlines in terms of services per week (s/w):

Air India and Air India Express:

Airline Traffic Rights upto  Summer 2012 Traffic Rights upto  Winter 2012 Traffic Rights upto  Summer 2013 Traffic Rights  upto Winter 2013
Air India & Air India Express 471 (s/w) 577 (s/w) 650 (s/w) 691 (s/w)


Other Airlines:

Airline Traffic Rights upto  Summer 2012 Traffic Rights upto  Winter 2012 Traffic Rights upto  Summer 2013 Traffic Rights upto Winter 2013
Jet Airways 417 (s/w) 497 (s/w) 539 (s/w) 602 (s/w)
Indigo 116 (s/w) 137 (s/w) 151 (s/w) 172 (s/w)
Spicejet 70 (s/w) 130 (s/w) 186 (s/w) 230 (s/w)
Total (Other Airlines) 603 (s/w) 764 (s/w) 876 (s/w) 1004 (s/w)
Total (All Airlines) 1074 (s/w) 1341 (s/w) 1526 (s/w) 1695 (s/w)


The traffic rights have been allocated to Indian carriers on the following routes for the first time:

Air India: Delhi-Rome-Madrid/ Barcelona; Delhi-Moscow; Delhi-Sydney/ Melbourne; Mumbai-Nairobi, Mumbai-Al Najaf (Iraq)

Jet Airways: Mumbai-Jakarta; Delhi-Barcelona; Mumbai-Zurich; Delhi-Tashkent; Mumbai-Ho Chi Minh City

Spicejet: Lucknow – Al Najaf (Iraq); Varanasi – Al Najaf (Iraq); Delhi-Macau; Delhi-Ho Chi Minh City

With the allocation of new traffic rights the increase in traffic entitlements of airlines is approximately 60% over the existing traffic rights in next three seasons.  Increase in number of international flights will also enhance competitiveness among airlines and is expected to bring down fares benefitting passengers.

Further, advance approval for the next three seasons will help airlines to plan their schedules in time, get timely approvals and necessary clearances from authorities including those from destination countries.

Mr Singh has also directed to hold fresh bilateral negotiations to explore possibilities of enhancing additional traffic rights with those countries with whom existing traffic rights have almost got exhausted. These include Singapore, Thailand, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Iraq, Macau and Afghanistan.