Thursday, June 25, 2020

The row over Vande Bharat flights from the US, explained

The Donald Trump administration has imposed restrictions on Air India’s ‘Vande Bharat’ repatriation flights that are carrying Indians from the United States in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The US claims that India is engaging in discriminatory practises by preventing US airlines from operating similar flights.
New Delhi on its part maintains that it is examining requests by the US and other countries to operate such flights.
“As we move from controlled and managed aviation evacuation of our citizens in different parts of the world and foreign nationals from India, we are now looking at the possibility of establishing bilateral arrangements,” the civil aviation ministry said in a statement. 
The US order, which will take effect in a month, says that the Indian government had not addressed US concerns regarding “restrictive and discriminatory treatment of US carriers” which had been raised last month.
As per the new US orders, Air India needs to file applications for flight authorisation at least 30 days prior to the repatriation flight’s date.
Why has US raised objections?
The Narendra Modi government announced the Vande Bharat mission in April with the aim of bringing back Indian nationals stranded in various countries after regular international flights were cancelled by nearly all countries following the worldwide spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
In its flight schedule announced on June 3 for US-India repatriation flights, Air India listed 49 round-trip US-India chartered flights between July 1 and July 10.
Ten days later, Air India announced another 10 such flights in the June 20-July 3 period.
Before the lockdown, Air India was operating around 35 round-trip US flights every week.
US officials claim that this effectively means that between June 10 and July 3, Air India would be operating more than 50 per cent of its previous flight load. “[I]t appears that Air India may be using its passenger repatriation charters as a way of circumventing the GoI-imposed prohibition of all scheduled services,” the US order states, adding that the situation has created a “competitive disadvantage” for American carriers.

To Read the News in full at Source, Click the Headline


Post a Comment