Canada, India Expand Air Services Agreement

The new pact is expected to create new nonstop city pairs, increase capacity and strengthen trade links between the countries.

Credit: Joe Pries

Canada and India have expanded their air transportation agreement to allow designated airlines to operate an unlimited number of flights between the two countries.

The deal, announced by Canada’s transport minister Omar Alghabra, replaces a previous agreement that limited each nation to 35 flights per week. The new rights under the expanded agreement are available for use by airlines immediately.

“We are pleased to expand this relationship with additional flexibility for airlines to serve this growing market,” Alghabra said.

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.”

Canada’s first air transport agreement with India was concluded in 1982 and was last expanded in 2011. India is now Canada’s fourth largest international air transport market.

The new agreement gives Canadian air carriers access to Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Mumbai, and Indian air carriers access to Toronto, Montreal, Edmonton, Vancouver, and two additional points to be selected by India.

Other cities in both countries can be served indirectly through codeshare services, while rights for all-cargo services are already unrestricted.

“With this expanded air transport agreement, we are facilitating even more exchanges of professionals, students, businesspeople, and investors,” said Mary Ng, Canada’s minister of international trade, export promotion, small business and economic development.

“As we strengthen our trade and investment relationship with India, we will continue building bridges like this that enable our entrepreneurs, workers, and businesses to access new opportunities.”

According to data provided by OAG Schedules Analyser, there are currently three nonstop routes operating between Canada and India. Air Canada and Air India each serve Toronto Pearson (YYZ)-Delhi (DEL) daily, while Air Canada also connects Montreal (YUL) and Delhi three times per week, and Air India links Vancouver (YVR) and Delhi daily.

In total, there are 15,576 available two-way weekly seats between the countries during week commencing Nov. 14. This compares with 13,424 seats at this time three years ago prior to the pandemic.

Sabre figures reveal that O&D traffic between Canada and India amounted to 1.76 million two-way passengers in 2019, with 87% of travelers flying indirect. London Heathrow (LHR), Hong Kong (HKG) and Frankfurt (FRA) were the top three connecting points.

The latest data for the nine months to the end of September 2022 shows that Canada-India O&D traffic was 1.25 million two-way passengers. Toronto-Delhi is the biggest city pair with 358,712 passengers, followed by Vancouver-Delhi and Toronto-Mumbai.