United States Expands Flight Disputes, Accuses Air India of Evading Coronavirus Restrictions

After threatening to ban Chinese airlines, the US USA It could restrain Air India in retaliation for India blocking US carriers from a long-haul recovery. Just one trip to Mumbai on Delta Air Lines generates more capacity than five flights between New York and San Francisco.

Delta has not yet received Indian approval to operate flights between the United States and India despite requesting permission a month ago. That delay has not hampered Air India, which plans to effectively operate 53% of its normal hours in the US. USA, According to the Department of Transportation.

“India has undermined the operational rights of American carriers and has engaged in discriminatory and restrictive practices with respect to the services of American carriers,” DOT said in an order.

To create influence against India, the United States is now requiring Air India to request permission from the United States for each flight one month in advance, which could allow the US. USA Reject certain flights as it proposed to do with Chinese airlines, resulting in a commitment by China to the US. USA

“This situation requires careful scrutiny, on a case-by-case basis, of Air India’s passenger charter operations,” DOT said. Air India is the only Indian airline that flies to the US. USA

The United States wants to remove international coronavirus travel restrictions that hinder the recovery of American, Delta and United Airlines. While domestic flights may be on the rise, a stronger rebound cannot occur without a relaxation of foreign regulations.

So far, only Delta has applied for an Indian permit, DOT said, despite United Airlines having a larger and longer presence in India.

Delta resumed flights to India only last December with a JFK-Mumbai 777 service from New York. American Airlines planned to return to India with a flight from Seattle-Bangalore in October 2020, now delayed to 2021. Delta and United are resuming flights to China, a much larger marker for US airlines than India, but American is not.

A more useful development for airlines would be that the US entry restrictions. USA Put an end to European citizens. American airlines benefit much more from Europe, in capacity and profits, than India and China. But with a depressed flight, every opportunity counts.

The problem is that India prohibits regularly scheduled international flights but allows the repatriation of charter flights under the “Vande Bharat” program. Letters are supposed to be limited in frequency and duration; even Lufthansa’s large-scale letters concluded in May. But Air India’s proposal is extensive.

Air India is planning 59 flights between June 10 and July 3, representing 53% of its pre-coronavirus schedule that had 34 weekly round-trip flights to the US. USA, According to DOT. That pushes the limit of what a special card is versus a reduced normal offer.

“It appears that Air India may be using its passenger repatriation letters as a way to circumvent the Government of India’s ban on all scheduled flights,” DOT said.

Air India is violating India’s own rules for charter flights, suggests the United States. India prohibits repatriation charter flights where airlines sell tickets to the passenger directly or through a distribution system such as those used by travel agencies or online booking sites. That would require a broker – or government – to buy the entire flight and then resell it to passengers.

But Air India is selling tickets directly to passengers for the flight from India to the US. USA, prompting DOT to complain to Air India on May 19. Air India still maintains a list of repatriation flights, and advises passengers to book them on the Air India website.

The United States raised formal objections to the Indian government on May 28 through its embassy in New Delhi, but India “has so far failed to remedy the situation.”

That “creates a competitive disadvantage for US carriers,” DOT said, and nullifies the prescribed fundamental fair and equitable opportunity for international flight.

By contrast, China allowed scheduled flights, which India did not, but only a weekly service from any airline. The United States wanted her normal and full authorization. Chinese airlines also have large charter flight programs, which Reuters said angered the US government. USA Since charter flights were not subject to the limits of scheduled flights.

There is no established distinction as to what constitutes a charter flight versus a scheduled flight. In recent years, China has cracked down on what it saw as South Korean airlines using charter flights as de facto scheduled flights to increase its overall flight allocation.