The signing of the Open Skies agreement by India and Canada will increase the number of flights between them, after years of being stuck to 35 weekly flights.
Airlines in Canada and India will now have almost limitless rights as a result of the new Open Skies agreement. India and Canada first discussed an Open Skies Agreement in May 2022, when Indian Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia met his Canadian counterpart, Omar Alghabra, on a visit to Canada. In essence, “Open Skies” refers to a situation where there are no restrictions on the number of travellers who can fly between the two nations or the number of aircraft departures that can be made between them.
Canadian airlines would be able to fly freely to Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, and Kolkata under the agreement, which Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced at the current G20 summit.
Indian airlines can currently travel to Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Edmonton, as well as two other locations that the Indian government can select. Through code-share services, other cities in both nations can be indirectly served.
India is Canada’s 4th largest international air transport market. Even though the market is still not completely open, the judgement is a big step forwards for two nations that have historically safeguarded their air rights.
India and Canada have strong ties, and a sizable diaspora makes travel for business, pleasure, and VFR (seeing friends and family) viable. Last year, Air Canada launched a brand-new route between Delhi and Montreal, and there is currently space for many more flights. All interested parties will welcome more direct flights.
According to anna.aero, in 2019, the final year before COVID caused traffic disruptions, little over 1.5 million people travelled by air from India to Canada. Even while Toronto-Delhi saw the highest North American traffic, the majority of passengers chose to connect only once, which prolonged the long transatlantic flight.
Although the frequency varies, Air India currently offers service between Delhi-Toronto and Vancouver. Currently, Air Canada serves flights from Delhi-Montreal and Toronto, Mumbai-Toronto (with a stopover at London Heathrow), and more destinations.
For Air Canada, air rights are one of the two issues. Some of Ukraine’s longest routes, like Delhi-Vancouver, are currently impractical due to overflight regulations, which also place a cap on the development of new routes.
The high average fare of analysis discovered that Bangalore-Toronto may be the new destination when the time is perfect. Other possible destinations include flights to Hyderabad and Ahmedabad, which both have high passenger volumes, as well as connections to Calgary, which are doubtful given the absence of an AC base.
Additionally, Amritsar, an important origin and destination for the Indian diaspora that travels to Canada, might be serviced by Indian airlines like Air India.
Overall, this is a wise decision that should encourage further connectivity between the two nations. While Air Canada waits for the Ukrainian airspace to once again be open to it so that more flights may be launched from its end, it should specifically benefit Air India for the time being.