AI Express to resume flights to Dubai from September 19

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on September 18, 2020 Published on September 18, 2020

A file photo of an Air India Express flight   -  The Hindu

The airline carried Covid-positive passengers from Delhi and Jaipur

Air India Express (AIE) will resume flying to Dubai from today as per the original schedule, Hardeep Puri, Minister of State for Civil Aviation, tweeted late on Friday.

The Minister’s tweet came hours after AIE issued a statement saying that it was suspending flights from Friday for 15 days. The airline was temporarily banned from flying to Dubai after it carried a Covid-positive passenger from Delhi on August 28 and another one from Jaipur on September 4.

“We submitted all the papers to the Dubai government and explained that strict instructions had been given to the ground handlers not to issue boarding cards to Covid-positive passengers. We emphasised that the airline and passengers should not be penalised for a mistake made by the ground handler,” a senior AIE official told BusinessLine when asked what the reason was for the sudden reversal of its decision.

Passenger safety

AIE operated five-six flights a day before the Dubai ban came into effect. “Since these were unscheduled flights, we would operate from any city that had demand,” the senior AIE official said. To help overcome the 15-day ban, the airline decided to enhance flights to Sharjah and also offered passengers the option of rebooking flights and travelling later.

Covid impact: Airline industry's passenger load factor falls sharply in July

“Passengers who were seated in close proximity to the Covid-positive passenger on both the flights had undergone tests and quarantined as determined by the Dubai health authority,” the airline said in a statement.

AIE has now reiterated instructions to the handling agencies in India to strictly adhere to the regulations and Standard Operating Procedure, and recommended a three-tier checking mechanism.


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Published on September 18, 2020
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