A circular from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has announced the suspension of international flights till October 31, 2020. The travel restriction will not apply to the international all-cargo operations and flights specially approved by DGCA. However, DGCA may allow certain international schedule flights to operate on chosen routes from time-to-time. Such allowances will be solely based on its discretion.
Lufthansa cancels all flights to India
Meanwhile, Lufthansa cancelled all its planned flights between India and Germany from September 30 to October 20. The announcement came when India rejected the flight schedule submitted by the German airline Lufthansa. According to the Indian authorities, the proposed schedule will put Indian carriers at a significant disadvantage.
As per the submitted flight schedule, Lufthansa proposed to operate 20 flights per week while Indian carriers were operating 3-4 flights a week, which showed a significant disparity in the arrangement. India offered to clear seven flights a week, which was unacceptable by Lufthansa. As such, DGCA announced that the negotiations would continue in future.
Lufthansa had originally scheduled flights for October connecting tier-I cities such as Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi with Europe and other regions. The schedule would also have seen flights to and from Chennai, according to the German carrier.
“As visa issuance is restarting and demand for flights to and from India is increasing, it is regrettable that Lufthansa is currently unnecessarily restricted in its ability to serve its loyal Indian customers and enable their desired travel,” the German carrier responded to the rejection of schedule.
India had formalized air bubble with a few countries including the USA, UK, UAE, Maldives, Qatar, Iraq, Bahrain, Nigeria, Japan, France, Afghanistan, Germany and Canada. The air bubble arrangement allowed countries to operate flights in either direction.
Air India under Vande Bharat Mission flew 7.6 lakh passengers
Amid the restrictions, the Government’s Vande Bharat Mission continues to operate. The mission was launched on May 6, 2020, to help the people stranded on various geographies due to COVID-19 pandemic. Vande Bharat Mission is currently in its Phase VI and would continue till October 31, 2020.
Under the mission, around 5,834 repatriation flights were operated by the Air India Group till September 27. It carried a total of 7.6 lakh passengers. Among these, 2,920 were inbound flights carrying 4.9 lakh passengers and 2,914 were outbound flights with 2.6 lakh fliers.