Direct flights between India and Canada resumed on Monday, 27 September, after almost five months of the flight ban imposed by Canadian authorities in view of the surge in COVID cases in India. Both Air Canada and Air India have started operations connecting Delhi with the cities of Toronto and Vancouver.
Canada's ban on direct flights from India was supposed to end on 20 September and the first flight – a direct one from Toronto to Delhi – took off from Canada to reach Delhi on the night of 21 September. However, the return flight to Canada the next day was a "test flight" where the passengers were tested again on arrival to "ensure that the new measures are working."
The initial ban was extended for another month in August due to Canada's suspicions on Indian tests and vaccine certificates. This created widespread distress for students travelling to Canada due to the increase in costs of third-country travel, vaccination, and stay.
Passengers had to travel via a third country and take a COVID-19 test or quarantine there before going to Canada.
Now, as flights resume, what all do you need to keep in mind? Read on.
When do the flights resume?
After the first flight last week, operations finally started on Monday, 27 September. Both Air India and Air Canada have started flights connecting the two countries.
The first (post-ban) Air Canada flight bound to Delhi took off from Toronto on Monday, 20 September and the flight went back on 22 September. All passengers on the flight back to Toronto were tested again on landing, Since they tested negative and the test results matched the ones taken in Delhi, flights have now resumed and the ban finally lifted.
Which places are being connected first?
The Delhi-Toronto airway has opened up and all flights between the two nations will be connected from these two cities at first. Flights will resume to connect Delhi and Vancouver as well. The flights will be under the air bubble agreement between the two countries.
Do you need any special documents to travel to Canada?
Passengers will have to have certain pre-requisites in place before boarding a flight to Canada. A negative COVID-19 test report and a proof of being fully vaccinated will have to be uploaded online on the ArriveCAN app or website before getting onto the flight.
Where should you get tested and which test should you take?
All passengers have to obtain a COVID-negative molecular test result. The test has to be taken at Delhi international airport's Genestrings Laboratory 18 hours before the flight. No other test from any other clinic in any city will be regarded valid.
You can also travel if you have a certified COVID-19 positive molecular test result taken between 14 to 180 days before your travel, The Times of India reported.
Which vaccines are approved by the Canadian government?
The Government of Canada has approved the Pfizer-BioNtech, Moderna, Astrazeneca/Covishield, and the Johnson and Johnson vaccines against COVID-19. Thus, Indian passengers to Canada are advised to take two doses of Covishield before boarding a Canada-bound flight. The Vaccination certificate has to be uploaded on the ArriveCAN mobile app or website.
Where can I keep a track of the changing guidelines?
To find out more about changing or updating guidelines about testing and travel requirements to Canada, the Air Canada website (aircanada.com) and the website of the Government of Canada (www.canada.ca) must be checked regularly.
(With inputs from Times of India, News18, and Mint)