Friday, October 30, 2020

Partial relaxation: Will fly passengers from Saudi to India & not other way, says AI Express

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NEW DELHI: Saudi Arabia has partially relaxed its suspension order for travel to and from India. It has allowed schedule flights to fly passengers to India. However, the temporary suspension on passengers going from India to Saudi continues.
Late on Wednesday night, Air India Express tweeted saying, “Vande Bharat Mission flights would continue to carry passengers on its flights from Saudi Arabia to India. The airline would not carry passengers from India to Saudi Arabia.”

This is a partial relaxation from Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) order issued Tuesday that suspended all travel to and from corona outbreak hotspots India, Brazil and Argentina. The temporary restriction applies to anyone who has been to these countries 14 days prior to their intended date of entry to Saudi Arabia and also to general aviation (charters and private jets). The only exception, according to the GACA order, are “passengers who have official government invitations”.

With India reporting almost a lakh corona cases daily, travel restrictions are coming in fast now. Even after the partial relaxation, the Saudi move has airlines worried that more countries may impose similar restrictions on people flying in from India.
Last Sunday (September 20), Hong Kong had for the second time asked Air India not to operate flights there for two weeks till October 3. The reason being a significant number of passengers from India testing positive on arrival in Hong Kong. Last month also Hong Kong had barred Air India flights for two weeks after 11 passengers who flew in there from Delhi on August 14 had tested positive on arrival. Cathay Pacific is not operating to India during the pandemic.
Dubai aviation authorities had also decided to suspend AI Express operations to the city last week for 15 days after the budget airline twice flew passengers with Covid positive reports there from India. Following an apology from AI Express and assurance that the same will not happen again, Dubai Civil Aviation Authority revoked this suspension.
Beginning September 17, certain categories of travellers from India need to undergo Covid test before leaving for Singapore as a negative report will be needed to enter the city-state. Singapore’s health ministry earlier this month took this decision due to the “resurgence of infections in India” and the city state seeing “a significant number of imported cases with recent travel history to India.”
“To reduce the risk of importation of cases from India, travellers who are not Singapore citizens or permanent residents and who have recent travel history to India within the last 14 days prior to entry will be required to take a Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test within 72 hours before departure. Travellers will need to present a valid negative COVID-19 test result as a condition of approval to enter Singapore… from September 17, 2020, 00:00 hours, and will apply on top of the existing requirements of a 14-day stay-home notice (SHN) at dedicated SHN facilities and a negative COVID-19 test before the end of their SHN,” Singapore health ministry website said in an update titled “requiring pre-departure tests (PDT) for travellers from India” September 9.
“We have been closely monitoring the Covid-19 situation in India. There have been reports of a resurgence of infections in India. Singapore has also observed a significant number of imported cases with recent travel history to India,” it added.
Countries like Germany test people flying in from “high risk” places like India for the flu on arrival.

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