US asks Air India to take prior permission for Vande Bharat charter flights

New Delhi has been carrying out repatriation flights from the US.

New Delhi: The United States on Tuesday asked India’s national carrier Air India to obtain prior permission for operating flights to and from the US from July 22 after alleging “restrictive and discriminatory treatment of US carriers” by the Indian government. New Delhi has been carrying out repatriation flights from the US.

In a swift reaction, the Indian civil aviation ministry said it has received requests from the governments of several countries, including the US, France and Germany, “requesting that their air carriers be allowed to participate in the transportation of passengers along the line being conducted by Air India under Vande Bharat Mission” and that “these requests are being examined”. The ministry further said the Indian government is “looking at the prospect of establishing individual bilateral bubbles, India-US, India-France, India-Germany, India-UK” for air transportation and that “these are all destinations where demand for travel has not diminished”.

On Tuesday, the US department of transportation said, “We are notifying national aviation company of India… Air India, a foreign air carrier of India… that it will be required… to obtain prior approval… before operating any third- and/or fourth-freedom charter flights to or from the United States. We are taking this action because the Government of India (GoI) has impaired the operating rights of US carriers and has engaged in discriminatory and restrictive practices with respect to US carrier services to and from India.”

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