India will not increase air traffic quotas for Gulf states and rather wants Indian carriers to provide more international airlift, local aerospace companies to increase production, and will soon finalise rules to safeguard the rights of lessors to repossess aircraft, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia has told Reuters.

He was reacting to pressure from the UAE's Emirates and Kuwait's Jazeera Airways to allow more capacity to India and secondary routes in one of the world's fastest-growing aviation markets where demand for air travel is outstripping aircraft supply, but where the bulk of international traffic is provided by foreign airlines with efficient hubs.

Jazeera Airways Chief Executive Officer Rohit Ramachandran recently called for the carrier's weekly allowance of 12,000 seats to be upped to 28,000 seats to reflect economic trends adequately, while the UAE has asked India to approve 50,000 extra seats from the region. Emirates President Tim Clark sees scope for doubling the weekly limit of 65,000 seats. He has warned that Indian airlines are short-changing themselves by USD1 billion a year because of the restrictions. Traffic rights are exchanged on a bilateral and equal basis between countries. Clark said he was hopeful that the respective governments could solve the situation.

However, Scindia told Reuters he wanted Indian domestic carriers to expand internationally. "We are going to see an explosion of air traffic in India in the years to come," he said.

His comments came as India expands its aviation footprint with a record order by Air India last month for 470 jets and an aggressive push into the international market. Domestic rival IndiGo Airlines (6E, Delhi International) is negotiating for a new order of 500-plus aircraft as it waits to take delivery of the same number from an older order. The minister said he believed the airlines' orders are signs of things to come.

India is building new airports to handle an expected doubling of domestic and international passenger traffic at the country's six major airports. Scindia said passenger numbers were expected to more than double to 420 million over the next five years, while India's fleet would have to increase from 700 to more than 2,000 aircraft. "Today, my hubs are in either the eastern border of my country or the western border of my country. With the scale that I have, I must create a hub within India," he said.

Meanwhile, Turkish Airlines (TK, Istanbul Airport) has offered a unilateral traffic increase to IndiGo, its strategic partner. "I believe the Turkish Civil Aviation Authority would have no objection to such a proposal as long as the foreign airline is a strategic partner," CEO Bilal Eksi said recently.

Turkish Airlines and IndiGo are codeshare partners. The Turkish carrier has also wet-leased a B777 to IndiGo, while a second aircraft will be deployed between India and Istanbul Airport from May 1.