Vande Bharat Mission: US restricts Air India flights, alleges "Unfair Practices"
New Delhi : The US government on Monday restricted operations of charter flights from India, accusing the nation of involving in 'unfair practices' by violating a treaty governing aviation between the two countries.
Air India Ltd. has been making flights to repatriate its citizens during the travel disruptions caused by the Covid-19 outbreak, but also has been selling tickets to the public, the Transportation Department alleged.
At the same time, U.S. airlines have been prohibited from flying to India by aviation regulators there, the DOT said in its order. The situation "creates a competitive disadvantage for U.S. carriers," the agency said in a press release.
Air India is advertising a schedule that is more than half of pre-virus operations, the department said. "The charters go beyond true repatriations, and it appears that Air India may be using repatriation charters as a way of circumventing" that nation's flight restrictions, the U.S. agency said.
The order becomes effective in 30 days, the department said.
In the order it has been asked that Indian Airlines must apply for DOT authorization before conducting charter flights so that a close monitoring of such flights can be done.
The department will reconsider the restrictions once India lifts restrictions on U.S. carriers.