• Slot allocation process fair, independent: Dubai Airports

    Amid Indian airlines raising concerns over slots, Dubai Airports today said allocation of slots to airlines is an independent and fair process that also depends on availability.

    The operator of one of the world’s busiest aerodromes, Dubai Airports also emphasised the slot allocation process applies to all airlines.

    Dubai International (DXB) airport, which has around 1,100 flights daily, saw around 8.5 million passengers from India during the January-September period this year. In 2015, the number of such passengers stood at 10 million.

    While most of the established Indian carriers have flights to Dubai, which is also a lucrative market considering the Indian expat population, there have been concerns about these airlines not getting adequate and proper slots at the airport there.

    In this regard, the Civil Aviation Ministry had written to the Dubai authorities. Besides, negotiations are expected between India and Dubai over bilaterals — the number of seats allotted to carriers from both countries.

    Against this backdrop, Dubai Airports Director of Corporate Communications Lorne Riley emphasised that slot allocation is done in an independent manner.

    “We are not party to the negotiations on bilaterals but what I have explained is that slot allocation process is based on international standards and is independently adjudicated according to those guidelines. It applies to all airlines…,” he told reporters here.

    Slot allocation process is applied fairly to all airlines and it also depends on what is available, he added.

    Between India and the Gulf, around 4.2 lakh seats are available every week, with Dubai leading the chart with 66,504 seats each per week.

    Earlier this year, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju had said the government is ready to open negotiations with the Gulf nations in general and Dubai in particular to enhance the bilateral air traffic rights between the two markets.

    “For the past two years, there has been a tremendous improvement in the utilisation levels of the bilaterals by our airlines with the Gulf nations. While it is 80 per cent for the region as a whole, with Dubai it is over 90 per cent now.

    “And with the limits being reached, we are ready to open negotiations with them again,” he had said.

    Apart from DXB, Dubai Airports also operates Dubai World Central (DWC).

    DXB saw little over 78 million passengers in 2015 and the number is expected to touch 83 million this year. In 2017, the airport is anticipated to see around 90 million passengers.

    Meanwhile, the annual capacity of DWC — which is the second airport in Dubai — would increase to 26 million passengers by 2017 from the current level of 5 million.

    Riley said expansion works worth over USD 32 billion would be done at DWC in the coming decades to increase the total annual capacity to more than 240 million passengers. Donald Penn Jersey

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