The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Jet flies away with big UK slice

New Delhi, Jan. 31: This summer, you can fly Jet ' or Sahara for that matter ' to London.

Jet Airways has been allotted seven flights a week to Heathrow while rival Air Sahara has bagged two a week to Gatwick, 45 km from London.

Jet, which has won the lion's share of the private allotment, and Sahara will become the first Indian privately-owned airlines to fly outside South Asia when they start the services to Britain.

The airlines can fix the fares but the room for a price war is restricted as the rates have to stay within a prescribed band.

Air-India has been given three more flights to Heathrow, provided it is able to get time slots at the airport. Air-India, which now has rights to 18 flights a week, has also been granted rights for three flights a week to Birmingham, a city to which it used to fly some years ago.

The decisions were taken here today at a meeting of civil aviation authorities.

Officials said Jet and Sahara have already accepted the slots but Air-India has yet to do so. The government has issued a rider that if Air-India is unable to get slots at Heathrow by mid-February, its allotment would be cancelled.

The slots will then go to the common pool from where it would be awarded to other airlines.

Indian Airlines, which was keen on rights to fly to the UK, has not been given any slots. Officials said the state-owned domestic airline had not formally requested for any slots to the UK.

All airlines had their eyes on the lucrative London sector, especially as 33 flights a week have been added to it. Seven more are likely to be included.

Meetings are slated to be held next week to decide on flights to Southeast Asia and to the Far East.

The government will also award more flights to the US, once a deal struck with Washington is ratified by legislatures of the two countries.

Both Jet and Sahara want to fly to Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and to the US. They are keen to fly to Southeast Asia from this summer and to the US from the winter.

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