The Indian government has declined Air Arabia’s request to come a “designated carrier”, as part of the bilateral air service agreement between India and the UAE.
The Hindu reports that issue relates to the awarding of flights from Ras Al Khamiah Airport. Air Arabia is currently the biggest operator at the UAE hub, with flights to destinations in several countries including Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan.
But India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation has ruled that the low-cost carrier cannot serve Indian destinations from Ras Al Khaimah because it already flies to the country from Sharjah.
“Air Arabia didn’t meet the air services agreement requirements,” RN Choubey, India’s civil aviation secretary told the newspaper. “How can an airline be a designated carrier for two emirates?”
Air Arabia was seeking to take over the flight entitlements of RAK Airways, the now defunct carrier that previously flew to 10 destinations in India.
Air Arabia currently operates 115 weekly flights from Sharjah to 13 Indian destinations.