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Canada, India Expand Bilateral Agreement to Allow Unlimited Frequencies
As China continues to pursue its zero-Covid-19 strategy imposing heavy restrictions on international travel and countries in East Asia continue to feel the impact of the closure of Russian air space to European and North American carriers, efforts are being made to boost commercial relationships with other Asian countries that represent viable commercial partners for Western economies.
While in Bali, Indonesia for the G20 Summit — a meeting of leaders from 20 of the world’s largest economies — scheduled for this week, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced an expanded Air Transport Agreement between Canada and India that will now remove all frequency restrictions to the flights between the two countries.
“Today, we are announcing an agreement between Canada and India, that will allow an unlimited number of flights between our two countries,” Trudeau said, as reported by the news agency Asian News International.
“The expanded air transport agreement between Canada and India is a positive development for air transport relations between our countries,” added the Honorable Omar Alghabra, Canada’s Minister of Transport in a statement. “We are pleased to expand this relationship with additional flexibility for airlines to serve this growing market. By making the movement of goods and people faster and easier, this expanded agreement will continue to facilitate trade and investment between Canada and India and help our businesses grow and succeed.”
The new Air Transport Agreement has defined six entry points per country that carriers will be able to serve with their flights. The Indian cities that will be allowed to receive flights from Canada are Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Mumbai, while their Canadian counterparts will be Toronto, Montreal, Edmonton, Vancouver and two additional airports that will be selected by India.
India is currently Canada’s fourth biggest trading partner, and there are approximately 700,000 Indian citizens living and working in Canada, according to Apoorva Srivastava, India’s consul general in Canada who spoke at a press conference at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport. “Indian students form the largest chunk of international students coming and studying in Canada. We currently have 230,000 and a lot more ready to come to Canada for educational purposes,” Postmedia reported.
Existing Services by Air Canada and Air India
Air Canada is currently the only Canadian carrier designated to fly between Canada and India: the carrier flies non-stop to Delhi’s Indira Ghandi International airport with daily flights from both Toronto, and there is also an additional thrice weekly service from Montreal. Both flights are operated with a Boeing 777-200LR aircraft.
The Montreal-based carrier has also launched a direct seasonal service between Toronto and Mumbai that will be operational between Nov. 7, 2022 and March 24, 2023. The flight will have a stop at London Heathrow, and Air Canada has obtained the Fifth Freedom rights to sell seats on the London-Mumbai route, therefore entering the very competitive UK-India market. This route will be flown with a Boeing 787-9 aircraft.
Air India is the only designated Indian carrier to fly to Canada. The carrier operates a daily non-stop service from Delhi to both Toronto and Vancouver using a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.
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