After US’ DoT puts Air India on Notice, India talks of opening regular commercial flights to USA

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.

Air India Boeing 777ER VT-ALV

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).

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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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. That’s what it took for this country to make a decision on opening up passenger flights for its citizens in need. This decision should’ve been taken by the Indian government a long time ago.

  2. Exactly. Please give permission to intl carriers to operate in India. Many are struggling to reach home from around the world. This is not time for argument. Just consider this issue. Let people travel with their own responsibility of safety.

  3. This very good thing usa gov have done,trash air india canceled my return flight to India and selling me same ticket for $3,000.f*** looter crupted indian system

  4. Good work by Dot USA , actually they understand the motive of VBM and Indian Government , similarly other countries should pressurise Indian Government and shameful civil aviation minister Puri in the same way to start commercial flights to India

  5. Great USA. Well-done. The India is telling it’s “request”. It’s not “requesting”. It’s “whipping butts”. Worst indian government. VBM is fake and fraud. Money making business out of stranded, distressed, hungered and dying passengers.

  6. Finally! The GOI and Air India thug shop will have to shut down. Now there are somethings, I do like about The US.

  7. Nice wrap on the knuckles by US DOT . This was a huge scam by mr. Puri and was illegal in first place . They never listened to actual Indian citizens .

  8. INDIAN govt is in deep financial crisis as we NRI s in UAE who are currently stuck in India. But that doesn’t mean you will do VBM leaving us to literally feel miserable. Its clear now that coz of indian govt policy we were not being able to get back to UAE as INDIA was not allowing their carriers to land.

  9. Fantastic job done by the United States Department of Transportation. Air India and Indian Ministry of Aviation was taking advantage by cheating the other countries I am sure a lesson learned
    Mr Hardip Singh Puri your department in the future making sure the business with foreign travel should be Fair.
    Now just open up the international flights to all Airlines.

    • Sir,
      On what basis after reaching domestic operation 40-50% ,then only consider International operation? If they open the airports for international flights , people who want to go abroad , they themselves make their own arrangements to reach the nearest Airport. Passengers who satisfied the required COVID 19 protocol , should be allowed.
      Actually people find very difficult from Southern States to reach Delhi to catch Evacuation flights by Air India.
      Hence the request to start International operation at the earliest, by allowing other Airlines for Commercial operation.

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