The United States government on Monday restricted charter flights from India, accusing that nation of “unfair and discriminatory practices” by violating a treaty governing aviation between the two countries.
Air India Ltd. has been making flights to repatriate its citizens during travel disruptions caused by the Covid-19 outbreak, but has also been selling tickets to the public, the Transportation Department alleged.
At the same time, aviation regulators have banned US airlines from flying to India there, DOT said in its order.
The situation “creates a competitive disadvantage for US carriers,” the agency said in a press release.
Air India is announcing a schedule that is more than half of pre-virus operations, the department said.
“The charters go beyond actual repatriations, and it appears that Air India may be using repatriation cahrters as a way to circumvent” that nation’s flight restrictions, the US agency said.
The order takes effect in 30 days, the department said.
Indian airlines must request authorization from DOT prior to charter flights so that it can examine them more closely, he said.
The department will reconsider the restrictions once India removes the restrictions on US carriers.
The action against India follows weeks of DOT restrictions against Chinese airlines after the US agency accused that nation of unfairly banning US airlines because of the coronavirus pandemic.
On June 15, the U.S. announced it would agree to allow four flights a week from China after it allowed the same number by U.S. carriers.
( Source- Bloomberg )
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