Lufthansa flights to India cancelled October 2020 onwards; LH blames Indian authorities

Lufthansa has been operating tonnes of repatriation flights from India to Munich and Frankfurt through the months, and with the recent signing of the air bubble agreement between India and Germany, had sold flights till October 20, 2020, originating from/arriving into India.

As per the air-bubble agreement signed between India and Germany, Indian and German carriers are permitted to operate services between India and Germany and carry the following categories of persons on such flights:

A. From India to Germany

  • Indian nationals who are permitted to travel abroad as per MHA guidelines dated 01.07.2020 and destined for EU;
  • Stranded EU nationals/residents, foreign nationals destined for Europe and transiting through Germany or spouses of these persons, whether accompanying or otherwise; and
  • Seamen of foreign nationalities; Seamen holding Indian passports would be allowed subject to clearance from the Ministry of Shipping.

B. From Germany to India

  • Stranded Indian nationals;
  • Foreigners (including diplomats and OCI cardholders), who are eligible to enter India as per Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) guidelines dated 30.06.2020 as amended from time to time.

As per the air bubble agreement, hence, Indians with visitor visas as well can travel to Germany without any restrictions as long as their health is ok and if CoVid-19 test comes negative on arrival, you don’t even have to quarantine.

The conditions to arrive in Germany are:

  • Are you travelling to Germany from a risk area? Then you have to present a negative corona test or go home – or to your destination – immediately after arrival and isolate yourself for two weeks (quarantine at home). And you have to report to your local health department immediately. The corona test result must not be more than 48 hours old.
  • You can take the test in many countries before you leave for Germany or you can be tested after arriving in Germany. The test in Germany is free of charge for you. There are already test facilities at many airports in Germany. If the test is positive, a two-week quarantine is necessary in any case. It is important: Until the test result is available, you must adhere to the quarantine rules.
  • During the quarantine, it is not allowed to leave the house or apartment and receive visitors. Violations of the quarantine rules can be very expensive!
  • You can find out whether you have stayed in a risk area from this list from the RKI. Many countries outside Europe belong to the risk areas. (Note: India is one)
  • Since August 8, 2020, tests have been mandatory for travellers from risk areas.

a white airplane on a runway

Lufthansa Cancels all flights to India.

Lufthansa has been operating the following flights to India under the air bubble agreement. Don’t look at the August dates, since the same schedule was sold for September and also for October 2020. As you can see, there were a lot of flights to fly to Germany, or for non-Indian passport holders to fly via Germany to other countries.

a table with numbers and time

a table with numbers and a few days of departure

Today, Lufthansa has cancelled all these flights into India. This is the communication sent to all trade partners in India, blaming the cancellations on the Indian regulators.

a plane flying in the sky

The DGCA of India issued a clarification, stating that Germany was not keeping its end of the air bubble agreement by not opening up their borders to Indians.

DGCA states that while Lufthansa was operating 20 flights a week (to&from Mumbai/Delhi/Bengaluru), Air India was only operating four flights a week (Delhi- Frankfurt from September 30 onwards). Owing to this, DGCA offered to have LH operate seven flights a week to India, which was not acceptable to Lufthansa.

Now I am not sure what is the bone of contention here where Air India was at a disadvantage. Was it that they were not being given enough slots at Frankfurt/Munich or was it that they did not get enough traction.

It is also imperative to note that Vistara has been very vocal of their plans to start flights to Frankfurt and Paris after opening up operations in London. However, no announcements have been forthcoming about when will be actualised.

Anyhow, the customers, as usual, get the short end of the stick. Many of them found their flights cancelled today, and got a very generic message.

a screenshot of a black and blue screen

This move affects a whole lot of people, including those who wanted to fly into India on these limited flights, and those who would have planned to fly, for instance to the USA, on these limited flights of India at the moment.

What do you make of these cancellations of Lufthansa flights and who do you think is the real victim here? Lufthansa or Air India?

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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. Pre COVID, Lufthansa operated 42+ flights to India whereas Air India operated only 7. The GoI using the argument that Air India has fewer flights and is at a disadvantage is laughable at best.

  2. Indian Govt had FAILED to contain the spread of Corona Virus. As Covid 19 deaths and cases are still rising, there is no clear strategy about public transportation including the aviation.

    AI is a disaster for Indian Govt with its accumulated losses. Modi Govt had washed off…its hands with no control as CHINA stand off in Ladakh is now in a critical situation.

    Soon…most international Airlines will STOP flying to INDIA. Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation owes an answer to stranded passengers in India. Period.!

  3. GoI should permit operation of flights already booked without causing inconvenience to travelling public. They can ban flights after 20th October as they are yet to be sold. But unfortunately GOI is uncooperative and trying to keep the ailing Air India.

  4. It’s never lufthansas fault. That’s the impression I get from lh. If I am reading it correctly, lh wanted more flights and said my way or no way.

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