The US has restricted charter flights to and from India.
An order by United States Transportation Department reads, “We are taking this action because the Government of India (GoI) 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.”
“Air India, a foreign air carrier of India that holds economic authority from the department 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 authorisation before operating any Third- and/or Fourth-Freedom charter flights to or from the United States.”
Air India started operating flights under Vande Bharat Mission from the first week of May to help bring stranded nationals back home.
However, the US agency alleges that “Air India may be using its passenger repatriation charters as a way of circumventing the GoI-imposed prohibition of all scheduled services.”
The department also emphasised on how Delta did not get permission to perform repatriation charter services similar to those provided by Air India.
The order noted that this was an attempt to restore a level playing field for the country’s airlines as per the US-India Air Transport Agreement.