Accusing it of indulging in “discriminatory and restrictive practices” by violating a treaty governing aviation between the two countries, the US government on Monday restricted charter flights from India.
The US Transportation Department has accused the Indian Government of “discriminatory and restrictive practices” with respect to U.S. carrier services to and from India through the Vande Bharat repatriation mission to bring back stranded citizens.
“..we note that Air India has been conducting self-described “evacuation” charters (i.e., repatriation charters), between India and the United States in both directions since May 18, 2020. On May 19, 2020, an official from the Department advised Air India of the Department’s concerns that some, if not all, of Air India’s so-called evacuation charters have gone beyond true evacuations (at least on the India to the United States segments) and involved sales to any member of the general public able to enter the United States,” the department wrote.
It also said, ” On May 26, 2020, Delta Air Lines, Inc. (“Delta”), via letter, requested permission from the Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) to perform repatriation charter services similar to those provided by Air India. To date, Delta has not received approval to perform the requested repatriation charters.”
The Department has notified the National Aviation Company of India Limited d/b/a Air India (Air India), a foreign air carrier of India that holds economic authority from the Department, that “effective 30 days from the service date of this Order, it shall not perform any Third- and/or Fourth-Freedom charter flights unless the Department has granted it specific authority in the form of a statement of authorization to conduct such charters.”
The National Aviation Company of India Limited d/b/a Air India (Air India) will have to obtain prior approval from the Department, effective 30 days after the service date of this Order, in the form of a statement of authorisation before operating any Third- and/or Fourth-Freedom charter flights to or from the United States.