Washington: The US has restricted charter flights from India, accusing New Delhi of engaging in “discriminatory and restrictive practices”, a statement by the Department of Transportation (DoT) said.
In the statement, the Department said that a foreign air carrier of India “will be required, effective 30 days after the service date of this Order, to obtain prior approval from the Department in the form of a statement of authorization before operating any Third and/or Fourth Freedom charter flights to or from the US”.
“We are taking this action because the government of India 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,” it added.
Air India is currently the only foreign air carrier of India that holds the Department authority to conduct operations to/from the US with its own aircraft and crew.
The Department further said that “this restrictive and discriminatory treatment of US carriers as regards charters has important implications in the area of scheduled operations as well”.
The DoT also alleged that the Indian government has “imposed restrictions that prevent US air carriers from making full use of these charter rights” according to the statement.
Washington however, has “not placed any limitations on US–India charter operations, and Air India has been and remains free to conduct the full complement of passenger charter services”.
On March 25, the Indian government had suspended all scheduled passenger services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Monday’s development comes after the Department restricted Chinese airlines from flying into the US.