US accuses India of unfair practices on charter flights
New order requires Indian air carriers to apply for authorisation prior to conducting charter flights
The US Transportation Department on Monday accused the Indian government of engaging in "unfair and discriminatory practices" on charter air transportation services to and from India and issued an order requiring Indian air carriers to apply for authorisation prior to conducting charter flights.
The department said it "seeks to restore a level playing field for US airlines" under the US-India Air Transport Agreement. The Indian government, citing the coronavirus, has banned all scheduled services and failed to approve US carriers for charter operations, the department said.
The Indian embassy in Washington did not immediately comment. The order is effective July 22.
Air India is advertising flights "that would constitute a rate of 53 per cent of the scheduled services it operated before the onset of the current public health emergency," the department said.
"Considering this rate of flying, and that Air India is selling tickets on the market, the charters go beyond true repatriations, and it appears that Air India may be using repatriation charters as a way of circumventing the GoI-imposed prohibition of scheduled services."