Thursday, June 25, 2020

After US raised objections, UAE restricts Air India from carrying passengers on Vande Bharat flights

The United Arab Emirates has restricted Air India from carrying any passengers, whether UAE nationals or non-UAE nationals, from India on repatriation flights under the Vande Bharat mission.

Passengers from the UAE to India can travel on these flights, as per the established protocol.

The new UAE guidelines will be applicable to all foreign carriers which are operating repatriation flights from the UAE.

Passengers will need prior approval from the embassy of the United Arab Emirates in New Delhi and the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC) to travel from India to the UAE on these repatriation flights.

The UAE government’s move comes a day after the United States asked India to seek prior approval for all repatriation flights, citing "competitive imbalance".

“The U.S. Government (USG) views this situation, in which Indian carriers may perform charters services that U.S. carriers may not, and the resulting competitive imbalance, as inconsistent with U.S. carrier rights under Article 11 and Annex II of the Agreement,” the US government department said regarding "restrictive and discriminatory treatment" of the US airlines.

The June 22 order will come into effect after 30 days and as per the order, Air India will have to seek permission from the US, 30 days prior to operating a repatriation flight date and 10 days prior to operating a cargo flight.

As per the guidelines issued by the General Civil Aviation Authority of United Arab Emirates, dated June 23, transportation of passengers—UAE nationals and non–UAE nationals) to the UAE on the repatriation flights is not allowed.
25/06/20 Anu Sharma/CNBC TV18
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