Saturday, August 21, 2021

Afghan airspace closure adds to Covid woes for US-bound Indian passengers

New Delhi: Priya Singh (name changed), who will join a college in the United States, was all set to fly from Delhi to the US next week. She was on a code share flight to Europe and then a connecting flight from there. But suddenly she was informed that the seat was no longer available.

The US-bound travellers from India, especially students like Priya, have already been facing problems due to the Covid-19 restrictions, but closure of Afghan airspace for commercial flights has added to their woes this fall.

Given limited airline capacity during the pandemic, a number of people who bought United Airlines tickets were booked on code share flights of European airlines to fly one-stop to the US from there.

Since Afghanistan air space was closed for non-defence aircraft on Monday, Air India, Vistara and European carriers are taking a longer route between India and Europe overflying Iran en route. However as per Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations, flights by the US airlines — including their code share ones — can’t overfly Iran, say people in the know.

As a result, passengers booked on United and supposed to travel on code share EU carriers overflying Iranian airspace are being told that their confirmed seats are no longer available or the concerned flight is cancelled.

A United spokesperson tells TOI the routings for their India flights are the only ones impacted. “Due to the dynamic nature of the situation, we have begun routing affected flights around Afghanistan airspace. We will continue to work closely with the FAA and IATA to evaluate the situation and determine how we continue service to markets impacted.”

20/08/21 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

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


Post a Comment