India, Canada discuss open skies policy

New Delhi: An open skies policy between India and Canada featured prominently in discussions during a meeting on May 3 between Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia and his Canadian counterpart.

Scindia, who is on an official three-day visit to Canada, met with Canada’s minister of transport Omar Alghabra in Ottawa. This was the first bilateral visit by an Indian Cabinet Minister to Canada in over two years. The last was by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar in December 2019 when he met then Canadian foreign minister François-Philippe Champagne.

An open skies framework involves unlimited direct and indirect flights between the countries. He said he had “a very fruitful exchange” with Alghabra. “We outlined the next steps on our engagement with Canada,” he said.

Among the next steps is a memorandum of understanding (MoU) “to be signed on civil aviation cooperation, which will talk about MROs (maintenance, overhaul, and repair), helicopter emergency medical services, aircraft manufacturing, pretty much across the board,” he said.

The MoU was signed in 2016 and expired in 2019 and needs to be revalidated. Scindia said that should be possible in two weeks.

Restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic are now “all in the past,” Scindia said, adding, “We have 20 flights from Canada to India and 10 flights from India to Canada.”

Image courtesy of (Photo courtesy: Twitter @Ajaybis)

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