Thursday, May 26, 2011
According to a recent story, India will refrain from entering into anymore air services agreements until at least 2014 in order to give its national carrier, Air India, an opportunity to return to profitability. See Air India Plans to Restrict Competition on Global Routes to Bounce Back to Profit, Travel Biz Monitor, May 25, 2011 (available here). India is currently an Open Skies partner with the United States. Though the story did not indicate that the Indian Government planned to denounce any of its existing bilaterals, it is not out of the question that policymakers may choose to dial-up protectionism in order to aid their ailing carrier.
There is an irony in all of this. The International Civil Aviation Organization's fourth Air Services Negotiation Conference is scheduled to take place in Mumbai this October. According to ICAO's website, "This event is primarily organized for aviation negotiators from different States to conduct bilateral (and regional or plurilateral if so desired) air services negotiations or consultations in a central meeting place." Despite playing host to the Conference, apparently India will be sitting this one out.