US curbs ‘unfair’ Air India repatriation flights

The US has accused India’s national carrier of “discriminatory practices” and curbed repatriation flights it was operating both to and from the country.

The US Department of Transportation (DOT) said Air India was also selling tickets for the flights which meant they were not “true repatriations”.

It added that US carriers were not being allowed to conduct similar operations to and from India, despite submissions from airline companies.

Air India has not responded as yet.

A statement on the DOT website said that the carrier would now have to apply for statements of authorisation prior to conducting charter flights and that approval would be given on a case by case basis.

It added that this was to restore a level playing field for US airlines and they would reconsider the decision once US airlines were also allowed to operate flights to and from India.

“Air India is advertising flights that would constitute a rate of 53% of the scheduled services it operated before the onset of the current public health emergency,” the statement added.

The carrier has been flying a series of “rescue missions” to bring Indian citizens back home from other countries in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

It has already operated a number of flights to and from the the US as part of its “Vande Bharat” mission.

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