PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia hopes to increase air service operations to India and has begun discussions to expand seat allocation to 40,000 seats per week, said Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.
In a statement, he said under the present air service agreement between both countries, Malaysia was allocated 20,000 seats per week.
“As our airlines have fully utilised this seat allocation, we have commenced discussions with India to expand the current allocation by an additional 20,000 seats per week,” Liow said.
The transport minister also said Malaysia was hoping to expand its flight destinations to include Coimbatore, Madurai, Pune, Vijayawada, Mangalore, Surat, Chandigarh and Srinagar.
He said airline operators comprising Malaysia Airlines Bhd, AirAsia, AirAsia X and Malindo Air, offered flights to 24 destinations in India.
“These consist of six metro cities, which are Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad, as well as 18 secondary cities, which include Goa, Jaipur, Port Blair, Kochi, Ahmedabad and Tiruchirappalli among others,” he said.
“India presented tremendous growth potential as the ninth largest civil aviation market worldwide valued at approximately US$16bil (RM65bil).
“It is well on track to become the third largest aviation market by 2020,” he said.
Malaysia is leading the Asean-India air transport agreement negotiations with the aim of reaching an open skies agreement with India.
“To this end, I look forward to the first Asean-India Working Group on regional air services agreement,” he said, adding that the meeting would led to a conclusion of the agreement,” he added. - Bernama