A few years back in 2017, Indian authorities barred American Airlines from running their ground operations at Indian airports. Now, it was likely that the US government would not like this move. As such, now the US Transportation Department has barred Air India from handling its own ground operations at US airports. During 2017, when the Civil Aviation Authority of India had taken this decision, the US authorities were not in favour and had protested against the move. To which, Indian authorities had replied by saying that it would look into the matter. But, for a long time, there was no decision on the matter. After waiting for almost two years, now the US Transportation Department has taken this decision against the Indian national carrier.
Air India Outsourcing Ground Operations at US Airports
The latest order which US Transportation Department issued, notes, “The department described the failure of the Indian government to permit US carriers to exercise their bilateral right to perform their own ground handling (to ‘self-handle’) at Indian airports. Based on this failure, the department has suspended their right to self-handle at US airports.”
However, as per a report by India Today who collected information from Air India, this move is unlikely to affect the airline’s operations as the carrier has always outsourced its ground operations in the US. Currently, Air India connects five airports of USA, which include San Francisco, Washington, New York, Newark, and Chicago. It is worth noting that the latest order from US Transportation department was applicable to both Jet Airways and Air India, but since the latter has wrapped up its operations and is no longer flying, the new order applies only to Air India.
Air India Undergoing Disinvestment
In another related development, the national carrier of India is slated to go through a long disinvestment process wherein the government will be selling its stake in the airline. Even with that, Air India continues to expand its routes and has recently inked new codeshare agreement with Fiji and has announced new Delhi-Toronto flights.