The government today granted its approval to the signing of Air Services Agreement (ASA) between India and Greece which allows the airlines of the two countries to fly in each other’s territory. It also gave its approval for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Australia for promotion and development of cooperation in civil aviation security. The decisions were made by the Union Cabinet at its meeting held under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi here, an official release said.
India had signed an ‘open skies’ agreement with Greece in September 2016, after putting in place the new civil aviation policy in June the same year. At present there is no direct air connectivity between India and the Southeastern European nation.
According to the civil aviation policy, the government can enter into an ‘open sky’ air services agreement on a reciprocal basis with SAARC nations as well as countries with territory located entirely beyond a 5,000 km radius from New Delhi.
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The commencement of air services will provide enabling environment for enhanced and seamless connectivity between the two countries while providing commercial opportunities to the carriers of both the sides ensuring greater safety and security, according to the government.
The agreement allows Indian airlines to operate air services to Athens, Thessaloniki and HerakIion, while the Greek airlines can establish direct operation to India’s six metro airports — New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Chennal.
Besides, as part of the pact, Indian carriers have also been allowed to fly to any three other points in Greece from India, which are to be specified later, the government said.
Any points shall be available as intermediate and beyond point for the designated carriers of India as well as the designated carriers of Greece, the release added.
According to the government, both countries will be entitled to designate one or more airline and set up their offices in the respective countries.
The agreement is as per latest International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) template keeping in view the latest developments in civil aviation sector and with an objective to improve the air connectivity between the two countries, the release said.
Meanwhile, the MoU with Australia will provide an opportunity to Indian aviation security authorities to share the expertise of their counterparts from that country and enhance the overall aviation security environment in India, the government said in a separate release.
The pact will provide compliance of international obligation as well as enhance promotion in the area of security cooperation between the two countries, it said.