the facts are that there are currently 19 available frequencies for use by uk airlines - BA has all of them. This increases by 7 to 26 for winter 2004/05, 33 for summer 2005 and 40 for winter 2005/2006
Almost correct, but not quite.
There are currently 17 available frequencies for UK airlines, plus additional frequencies that can ONLY be used to Kolkata under a side letter to the old bilateral.
These increase to 24 available frequencies effective December 1, to 31 available frequencies effective February 1 and to 40 available frequencies effective June 1 (dates may be slightly off but the general timeframe progression is correct).
Under the new bilateral, the current operations by UK carriers to India will account for 22 of the 24 frequencies available in December (17 allocated plus 3x Virgin to DEL and 2x BA
to CCU) - but its a moot point since there is open skies in winter anyway. Effective February though, Virgin wants the second set of frequencies allocated to them (as well as the formal allocation of the DEL flights they are already operating under AI
CAA of course can choose to do neither, and VS
would then be up shit creek without a paddle - having burned their AI
bridge for the Delhi services and watching BA
lap up the market. Hence in typical Virgin fashion, they are now in a win-win situation by manipulating the situation so that they can cry bloody murder if they don't get the rights. I can just see the tabloid headlines already : "Aldershot grannie's Indian holiday stolen by nasty BA
I don't trust Virgin any further than I can throw 'em, but I have to admit they make for great entertainment!
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada