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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 April, 2005, 07:34 GMT 08:34 UK
India and US in 'open skies' deal
Air India Boeing 747 in Mumbai
More flights could soon take-off for the US
India and the United States have signed an agreement increasing the number of flights between the two countries.

The new "open skies" policy replaces a decades-old agreement which restricts flights, the destinations they can fly to and air fares.

The new agreement is expected to lead to lower air fares between India and the United States.

It is expected to make it easier for business travel and will particularly help the outsourcing industry.

On Wednesday it was announced that UK airline flights to India were set to more than double under a new agreement signed by the countries.

Only three airlines - India's national carrier Air India and US airlines Delta and Northwest - offer direct services between India and America which do not include a change of aircraft.

All the flights out of India originate from the capital Delhi or Mumbai (Bombay) with no flights from Madras or the infotech hub of Bangalore.

For most software company staff based in San Francisco's Bay area, a flight to Bangalore could mean a 30-hour flight with lengthy stopovers in Singapore or Bangkok.

Already Delta Airlines has asked for permission to begin flights from Madras to New York via Paris while Northwest wants to put on flights between Minneapolis and Bangalore via Amsterdam.

In addition, Continental Airlines has announced plans to start a non-stop service between Delhi and Newark in October, reducing travel time between the two cities by two-and-a-half hours.

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23 Aug 04 |  South Asia

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