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Considering Establishing Bilateral Bubbles for Air Travel: Govt

The ministry said that it is considering establishing "bilateral bubbles" between India-US & more for air travel.

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Ministry of Civil Aviation, on Tuesday, 23 June, said that it has received requests from several countries including US, France, Germany among others that their air carriers be allowed to participate in the transportation of passengers along the line being conducted by Air India under Vande Bharat Mission.

The ministry added that it is considering establishing "bilateral bubbles" between India-US, India-France, India-Germany and India-UK for air travel.

Meanwhile, the US Transportation Department has imposed restrictions on Vande Bharat Mission repatriation flights, accusing the government of India of “restrictive and discriminatory treatment of US carriers”, Hindustan Times reported.
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Indian government in its statement, however, said, "We have also had one round of negotiations with the US on 15 June with representatives of the US Department of Transportation and US Embassy on this issue. They were invited to submit precise proposals in this respect. Communication has now been received on 19 June 2020 detailing these requests."

The ministry is yet to respond on the restrictions imposed by the US.

The order issued by the US department of transport on Monday also said, "..we note that Air India has been conducting self-described "evacuation" charters (i.e., repatriation charters), between India and the United States in both directions since 18 May 2020. On 19 May 19, an official from the Department advised Air India of the Department's concerns that some, if not all, of Air India's so-called evacuation charters have gone beyond true evacuations (at least on the India to the United States segments) and involved sales to any member of the general public able to enter the United States," PTI reported.

It has claimed that on 26 May, Delta Air Lines, Inc. ("Delta"), via letter, requested permission from the Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) to perform repatriation charter services similar to those provided by Air India.

"To date, Delta has not received approval to perform the requested repatriation charters," the DOT said.

(With inputs from PTI & Hindustan Times)

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