Air France flights to resume

Air France flights to resume

Passengers need COVID-19 negative test and travel certificate.

Passengers will be able to fly to and from Paris on Air France flights, provided they meet the mandatory medical and travel advisories laid down by the French government.

India has allowed Air France 28 flights from Saturday to July 31 from Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru. But severe restrictions imposed by both the governments for incoming passengers mean that only essential travel will be encouraged and India’s proposal for a “travel bubble” with easier quarantine norms to ensure hassle-free travel has not come through.

Air France advises passengers on its website to carry a report of a negative coronavirus (COVID-19) test done 72 hours before a flight, as well as a “Travel Certificate for access to French Territory detailing their travel plans, and a sworn statement that they do not have novel coronavirus”. Upon their arrival in France, travellers from India will have to undergo 14 days of mandatory home or institutional quarantine.

Other countries

India is also in talks with the U.S., Germany and the U.K., who have been conducting repatriation flights from here but are yet to start regular commercial flights which will not only allow their airlines to ferry passengers into their countries and also bring passengers into India.

The U.S.-based United Airlines aims to start scheduled flights from August 1, which will allow it to fly passengers both ways, pending government approval. This is likely to come through as the U.S. Department of Transport has threatened to stop Air India’s Vande Bharat Mission repatriation flights by July 22 if India did not grant U.S. carriers reciprocal permission. However, United Airlines has the permission to operate repatriation flights from July 17 to July 31 between the U.S. and New Delhi.

Germany waiting

Sources said that while Germany is keen to start regular flights to India, the permission to fly passengers only on outbound flights from here makes it unviable for Lufthansa to re-commence commercial operations.

“Lufthansa welcomes the Indian government’s plan to allow foreign airlines to operate scheduled international flights into the country. This would help meet the presently strong demand from Indian citizens for these flights. We are currently assessing the new rules and regulations set by the Indian government for foreign airlines intending to operate flights into India,” said a spokesperson of the airline.

Lufthansa, however, continues to operate 12 weekly outbound chartered flights from Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru to Munich and Frankfurt. It has applied for flights beyond July 22 and is awaiting approval by Indian authorities.

Demand for London

Another destination which has seen a lot of demand for travel from and to India is London.

“We are continuing to work closely with the government of India to re-establish bilateral air routes, including for U.K. carriers,” U.K. government sources told The Hindu.

Earlier, India and the UAE agreed to allow their airlines to carry eligible passengers on both legs of their chartered flights between the two countries from July 12 to July 26.

‘Multiple restrictions’

“Because of multiple restrictions, that is, border closures, quarantine requirements, etc., the current set of repatriation flights announced by various airlines under the current ‘air bubble’ initiative by the government of India, do not assist the vast majority of people who may want to travel despite the COVID19 pandemic. Also, as these flights do not have a regular schedule, no one is really able to book a round trip, which restricts travel further. Unless these agreements are refined with regular, scheduled flights between India and the respective countries, they will end up being mere repatriation flights,” said Vinamra Longani, head of operations, Sarin & Co., a law firm specialising in aircraft leasing and aviation finance.

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