In a move that surprised industry observers, India and Pakistan reached agreement on all issues raised during the first day of bilateral aviation talks being held in New Delhi on Monday.
The Indian delegation was led by Satinder Singh - Director General of Civil Aviation and the Pakistani delegation by Mohammad Ashraf Chaudhry - Additional Secretary, Ministry of Defence.
Among the major issues agreed upon were :
* Reinstatement of unrestricted first freedom overflight rights for all aircraft registered in the other country.
* Reinstatement of second freedom rights in case of operational need.
* Liberalization of capacity restrictions for third and fourth freedom traffic between the two countries upto a maximum guage of Boeing 747s.
* Tentative permission for Pakistani carriers to operate services to Chennai subject to application and approval.
* Agreement for further talks to renegotiate the India-Pakistan Air Services Agreement to permit additional designated carriers (including private carriers) into the market.
All the above agreements will go into place from 0031 hrs IST (0001 hrs PST) on January 1, 2004.
Pursuant to this, both Indian Airlines and Pakistan International Airlines will reinstate services on the Karachi-Mumbai and Lahore-Delhi routes effective from that date. Air India will also reroute its westbound services to again utilize Pakistani airspace.