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May 16, 2002 | 0740 IST
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US carriers likely to resume Indian operations soon

BS Economy Bureau

American carriers, which had stopped operations from India following the September 11 terrorist attacks, might soon resume flights from the country, Civil Aviation Minister Shahnawaz Hussain said.

"The global economic situation after September 11 has started improving. Those American airlines which had stopped operations have again shown interest in resuming flights from India," he told reporters in New Delhi after a meeting with US Ambassador Robert Blackwill on Wednesday.

US carriers, notably American Airlines and United Airlines, had discontinued their operations from India after the slowdown in the global aviation industry following the September 11 events in the US.

The minister said the two countries would shortly start discussions on bilateral air traffic rights, but refused to give a date.

After September 11, the bilaterals granted to the US were left unutilised and there has been a large demand-supply gap between traffic and available seat capacities.

While Hussain said the US had shown its confidence in security at airports, Blackwill said the issue had come up for discussions.

"We have an extensive co-operation, which we wish to extend even further on security aspects associated with airlines," the US envoy said.

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