India and the United Kingdom signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) here today to ease restrictions on the number of scheduled flights between the two countries following talks here this week.
Limits on flights from Indian cities, including Chennai and Kolkata, have been scrapped, allowing for a greater range of flights for passengers while providing a boost to trade and tourism for the UK and India, an offficial press release said.
Building new links with important trading partners is a key part of the British government’s plans for a Global Britain, opening up new export markets and creating jobs and economic growth.
The agreement also opened all destinations in the UK for Indian carriers for code share flights, and reciprocally the UK carriers can also operate code share flights to any international airport in India, through domestic code share arrangements.
The agreement was formally signed by Minister of Civil Aviation P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju, on behalf of India and Lord Ahmad, Aviation Minister of UK, during a visit to India where he led a delegation of British companies for the 2017 CAPA India Aviation Summit.
“The increase in number of flights between the UK and India is encouraging news for our businesses and tourists. We already enjoy strong ties with the UK and we welcome such continued association which in the long run will not only encourage business activity, but also people-to-people contact. I am sure that this agreement will bring direct and indirect benefits to many sectors of the economies of our two countries," Mr. Gajapathi Raju said.
Tourism from India makes an important contribution to the UK economy. In 2015, there were 422,000 visits from India to the UK, bringing more than £433 million to the economy.
Lord Ahmad said: “India is one of our closest allies and key trading partners and this new agreement will only serve to strengthen this crucial relationship. We are unlocking new trade and tourism opportunities which will boost our economies, create new jobs and open up new business links. This is great news for both the UK and India and is yet another sign that we are open for business and ready to build and strengthen our trade links.”
"India is a rapidly expanding and important market for aviation and the agreement signed today will allow airlines to develop new services and air routes. The final decision on additional flights between the UK and India is a commercial one for airlines," the release added.