New Delhi: On Monday the department of transportation of the US government restricted Air India flights to the US citing “unfair and discriminatory practices”. They have accused India or violating aviation treaty between the two countries by restricting US airlines from operating into India.
Air India has been operating flights under ‘Vande Bharat’ to repatriate its citizens during the travel disruptions caused by the Covid-19 outbreak.
The notice by the US transportation department accuses Air India of selling tickets to the public on repatriation flights while US airlines are being prohibited. The US accused the government of India of impairing the operating rights of US carriers and engaging in discriminatory and restrictive practices concerning US carrier services to and from India.
The notice accused, India of imposing restrictions to prevent US air carriers from making full use of the charter rights. The notice further states that the US in this part has not placed any limitations on US-India charter operations and Air India has been and remains free to conduct a full complement of passenger charter services provided in an agreement.
“In this regard, 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 May 18, 2020,” the notice read. Moreover, the practices continued even after a member from the department advised Air India of its concerns that some of Air India’s evacuation charters have gone beyond true evacuations and has also involved the sales to any members of the general public able to enter the US informed the notice.
Additionally, on May 26, Delta Airline, also requested permission from the Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation to perform repatriation charter services similar to those provided by Air India and to date, Delta has not received any approval.