US Restricts Special Flights From India, Alleges Unfair Practices

The US raised objection to Air India selling tickets to public while plying repatriation flights.

Published23 Jun 2020, 07:38 AM IST
2 min read

The government of the United States of America on Monday, 22 June, restricted charter flights from India coming into the country stating that India was indulging in "unfair and discriminatory" practices that violate the aviation treaty between the two countries.

The US Transport Department alleged that Air India Ltd, which was plying flights to repatriate citizens during the COVID-19 travel lockdown, was also selling tickets to the public, reports IANS.

The Transport Department further said that since US airlines were prohibited from flying to India by aviation regulators there, Air India's actions were creating a "competitive disadvantage for US carriers".

"The charters go beyond true repatriations, and it appears that Air India may be using repatriation charters as a way of circumventing that nation's flight restrictions," said the Department in a press statement.

The order is to become effective in 30 days, the statement added.

Indian airlines now have to apply to the US Transport Department before operating charter flights so that the details of the said flight can be scrutinised closely.

The statement further said that the Department will reconsider its decision once India removes it restrictions on flights coming in from the US.

This action against India comes weeks after the Department placed restrictions of Chinese carriers coming into the US, accusing China of "unfairly banning" American carriers into the country due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The impasse was partly resolved when on 15 June the US agreed to allow four flights a week from China after it allowed the same number of US flights.

Air India and the Indian Embassy are yet to respond to these allegations and the Transport Department's order.

(With inputs from IANS).

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