Besides, the move could also hike international air fares as the additional seats would come with a "price tag" and foreign airlines winning the bids will seek to recover the costs by passing it on to the customers, a member of the Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA) said.

While the number of destinations, routes and seats are decided at government-level talks and the air services agreements between India and various countries, the latest proposal in the draft civil aviation policy provides for auctioning of the seats to meet the additional demand on various international sectors.

FIA comprises four domestic airlines--Jet Airways, IndiGo, SpiceJet and GoAir. "The auctioning of seats on the international routes other than those covered under the various air services agreements will only provide a greater foothold to the foreign airlines, particularly the Gulf carriers who already have an undeclared monopoly in the Indian market," the FIA member said on condition of anonymity.

Stating that government needs to think in the larger national interests, the FIA member said, adding "the move could also lead to a hike in airfares on the international routes".

The Civil Aviation Ministry is likely to move the draft note for Union Cabinet's approval in the third week of January.

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