Sharjah-based low-cost carrier Air Arabia has said it will not rush to invest in the troubled Indian airline sector.
"We don't want to rush into buying or investing in a market that we are not expert of. Operating from UAE to India and back is one thing and picking up stake here is another, as we don't have the required expertise," Air Arabia board member and group chief executive Adel Abdullah Ali said.
"One needs to look at the policy framework in detail and understand what it exactly offers."
But Ali was quick to add that India is a good business opportunity, and global airlines may look at it in future.
Air Arabia connects 80 destinations across the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe. In India, it operates over 112 weekly flights from Sharjah connecting Jaipur, Kochi, Nagpur, Coimbatore, Delhi, Mumbai, Thiruvananthapuram, Goa, Kozhikode, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Chennai.
Asked about India plans, Ali said the airline has already used up the bilaterals, which has led to a bit of stagnancy.
"For the past two years we have not grown because we have used up all our allocated seat capacities under the bilateral. I am hopeful both the governments are sensible to recognise this fact and increase the seat allocation," he said.
New Delhi is one of the most difficult negotiators when it comes to giving traffic rights, he said, adding, "They allow only when they get same rights from the other side."
Currently, the total seat capacity on the sector is 32,000 seats per week. "The seat factor on India-Sharjah route is quite high and there is enough room for expansion," Ali said.