IndiGo has requested the civil aviation ministry to increase the bilateral traffic rights with Turkey as the airlines have exhausted the current capacity, a senior official told CNBC-TV18.
IndiGo's co-founder Rahul Bhatia and Turkish Airlines chief executive officer Bilal Eksi called on aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Monday and requested to enhance the foreign flying rights on the sector, people aware of the matter said.
As per the current bilateral arrangement between Turkey and India, airlines can operate 14 frequencies every week between the two countries or a total traffic of 3,000 passengers can be carried on a weekly basis from each side.
As of now, IndiGo operates two direct daily flights between Delhi and Istanbul. Turkish Airlines operates one direct flight each from Delhi and Mumbai to Istanbul.
"They have requested to enhance the bilateral air service arrangement. The ministry has not promised anything as of now," another official added.
IndiGo, the country's largest carrier, started daily direct flights to Istanbul in March from Delhi and the move is seen as a gateway for the airline's European ambitions.
"Istanbul holds immense potential for IndiGo, and this launch is part of organic expansion within Europe for us, as we complement our domestic network with international connectivity," chief commercial officer William Boulter had said at the launch of Istanbul operations in March.
IndiGo and Turkish Airlines are also codeshare partners since December 2018. Turkish Airlines is the first codeshare partners of IndiGo as part of its international expansion.
As per the arrangement, IndiGo places its code ‘6E’ on 20 points beyond Istanbul operated by Turkish Airlines. Similarly, Turkish Airlines uses its code ‘TK’ on IndiGo operated flights within India.
Turkish Airlines, which has a total of 331 aircraft, flies to over 300 worldwide destinations currently. With a total fleet of 240 aircraft, IndiGo registered a market share of 47.8 percent as of July.
This is not the first time that Turkish Airlines has approached the ministry to enhance the agreement as the airline has exhausted the rights several years ago.