Spain asks India to resume direct flights, make it Latin America gateway
New Delhi, Apr 13 (EFE).- Spain wants to resume direct flights with India and turn into its gateway to Latin America, after the only direct service between the two countries operated by Air India was cancelled during the coronavirus pandemic, Spain’s secretary of state for trade Xiana Mendez Bertolo told EFE on Thursday.
Mendez Bertolo, who is on a two-day official visit to India ending Thursday, conveyed this message to Indian authorities during a meeting with the host nation’s secretary for civil aviation Rajiv Bansal.
“(Direct) flights existed until 2020 but they were canceled as the pandemic spread, and have also been affected by the situation in the Air India company, which has signed massive purchase contracts for Airbus and Boeing planes (…), which, we think, may have delayed decisions related to connectivity,” the Spanish official said.
The first direct flight between New Delhi and Madrid was launched in 2016 by India’s flag carrier Air India, which was a public entity then, but was eventually sold to business conglomerate Tata Group in 2022 after suffering massive losses and accumulating debilitating debt.
In February this year, the now-privatized airline announced that it would purchase 250 Airbus aircrafts and another 220 from Boeing, marking the largest purchase order in the history of commercial aviation.
India also considers the resumption of direct flights to Spain as “something desirable,” as “Spain serves as a launching pad for Latin America,” a region of growing interest for New Delhi, Mendez Bertolo highlighted.
Bilateral trade between India and Brazil currently stands at $14.38 billion according to Indian trade ministry data, making the Latin American nation India’s 20th biggest trading partner.
Mexico occupies the 33rd spot in the list, with trade worth $7.85 billion, and Argentina ranks 41, with total imports and exports almost touching $4.33 billion.
The three Latin American countries, members of the G20 bloc that is currently chaired by India, have strengthened diplomatic ties with the South Asian power in recent years. EFE