US passenger flights to India can resume 23 July

American Airlines passenger planes crowd a runway where they are parked due to flight reductions made to slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at Tulsa International Airport in Tulsa, Oklahoma, US, 23 March 2020.
American Airlines passenger planes crowd a runway where they are parked due to flight reductions made to slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at Tulsa International Airport in Tulsa, Oklahoma, US, 23 March 2020.Reuters

The government of India has agreed to allow US air carriers to resume passenger services in the US-India market starting 23 July, the US Transportation Department said on Friday.

The Indian government, citing the coronavirus, had banned all scheduled services, prompting the US Transportation Department in June to accuse India of engaging in "unfair and discriminatory practices" on charter air carriers serving India.

The Transportation Department said it was withdrawing an order it had issued requiring Indian air carriers to apply for authorisation prior to conducting charter flights, and said it had approved an Air India application for passenger charter flights between the United States and India.

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India's Ministry of Civil Aviation said on Twitter it was moving to "further expand our international civil aviation operations" and arrangements from some flights "with US, UAE, France & Germany are being put in place while similar arrangements are also being worked out with several other countries."

A group representing major US airlines and the Indian Embassy in Washington did not immediately comment on Friday.

India's Ministry of Civil Aviation said on Twitter it was moving to "further expand our international civil aviation operations" and arrangements from some flights "with US, UAE, France & Germany are being put in place while similar arrangements are also being worked out with several other countries."

"Under this arrangement," it added, "airlines from the concerned countries will be able to operate flights from & to India along with Indian carriers."

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The US Transportation Department order was set to take effect next week. The Trump administration said in June it wanted "to restore a level playing field for US airlines" under the US-India Air Transport Agreement. The Indian government had banned all scheduled services and failed to approve US carriers for charter operations, it added.

The US government said in June that Air India had been operating "repatriation" charter flights between India and the United States in both directions since 7 May.