Malaysian Prime Minister NajibRazak and his Indian counterpart  Narendra Modi (​Source: PTI Photo)
Kuala Lumpur (VNA) – Malaysia and India have signed a new aviation deal during the India visit of Malaysian Prime Minister NajibRazak, which allows a total of 22,531 passengers to fly to India per week, up by 1,861 passengers.

The agreement,whose negotiations started in 2010, is considered a breakthrough dealsince the first one between the two countries was signed in 1967.

Malaysian Transport Minister Datuk Seri LiowTiong Lai said the extra seats were approved for the six majorcities of Chennai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bengaluru (Bangalore) and Hyderabad.

He said the designated airlines from Malaysia will also be allowed to enter a domestic code-sharing arrangement with India’s airlines, which is expected to help expanding the country’s tourism.

The minister said the next move for Malaysia is to raise the number of weekly seats to the six Indian cities to 40,436 as well as add eight destinations to the existing 18.

However, he revealed that negotiations for additional air traffic rights with India are facing difficulties, adding that Malaysia is prepared to be liberal with India in line with ASEAN’s Open Skies policy.

Under India’s National Civil Aviation Policy 2016, for countries fully or partly within a 5,000km radius from New Delhi, extra air traffic rights could only be considered if India’s airlines were able to use up at least 80 percent of their entitlement. But the present rate of utilisation by India’s airlines to Malaysia is only about 5 percent.

Currently, Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia and Malindo are allowed to provide services for passengers travelling from Malaysia to India.

The six-day India visit of Prime Minister NajibRazakstarted from March 30 as the two countries are celebrating their 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties. This is the third visit of the PM to India since he took office in 2009.-VNA