Yesterday, I wrote about the notice that the US-DOT served on Air India, where they disagreed with Air India’s interpretation of Vande Bharat as repatriation flights, but more like operating commercial flights under the garb of charters without giving equal access to the American Carriers for operating flights to India.
The US is the first but not the only aviation market which is, sort of miffed with India for cutting off access to the Indian market, which is lucrative for many of them. Air France, Qantas, Air New Zealand, Delta, United and British Airways are some of the airlines which have been forced to fly empty planes (ferry flights) to India as they came to pick up their nationals from India, but were not permitted to bring Indians in their territories on the empty plane coming to India.
France made Air India fly an empty plane to Paris instead of travelling with passengers. While I feel bad for those who got cancelled last minute, this was bound to happen given India’s lop-sided policy of making a quick buck and not allowing other carriers to participate in a humanitarian mission.
India’s Civil Aviation machinery considers opening up an air-corridor with the USA.
Given the US is such a vital air market for Air India, and the recent pushback given to Air India by France, it is no wonder then that India has finally come on the negotiating table and acknowledged that they are considering air travel corridors. Before this event, India’s Minister for Civil Aviation always stated that he would start thinking of international aviation once domestic traffic went above 50% (it is about 13% of pre-CoVid averages in terms of people transported, at the moment).
We have received requests from concerned authorities in several countries including US, France, Germany among others requesting that their air carriers be allowed to participate in transportation of passengers along the line being conducted by Air India under Vande Bharat Mission pic.twitter.com/MK5xNHV0Hx
— MoCA_GoI (@MoCA_GoI) June 23, 2020
Like you can see, for the first time, India has acknowledged that they are considering the prospect of making bilateral bubbles between India-US, India-France, India-Germany and India-UK. A travel bubble is when both the countries allow the passengers of the other country to travel to their country without the prospect of having to undergo quarantine on arrival. Of course, if you are detected with the CoVid-19 strain before departure, you won’t be allowed to travel.
Given the US DOT’s notice puts the clock on for Air India who will have to seek individual approval for each charter flight going forward where the DOT can place the condition of bringing in the flight empty after July 21, 2020, I would expect the Government of India to move fast in this case, and perhaps announce the resumption of non-stop air travel between India and the USA shortly.
What do you make of the statement issued by the Ministry of Civil Aviation in India?
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