This country bans all flights of Air India

Andrew Cummings
September 23, 2020

Hong Kong had suspended Air India flight in August after the airline was found to have carried COVID-19 positive passengers on board.

Confirming the development, a spokesperson of the national carrier said,"Hong Kong has prohibited Air India for two weeks - September 20 to October 3. Only one flight was scheduled to operate in this period - Delhi-Hong Kong on Monday (September 21) which has been cancelled and passengers informed", said a senior AI official. Air India's operations to Hong Kong will now remain suspended for a fortnight up to 3 October. 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.

Hong Kong suspends Air India from operating flights till October 3

A senior aviation industry official told Mint that unless Air India knowingly or accidentally let on covid-19 positive pax they can not be blamed for such incidents. According to the rules issued by the Hong Kong government in July; a passenger from India can arrive in Hong Kong; only if he or she has a corona virus negative certificate from; the test done 72 hours prior to the journey. Five people flew AI Express to Malaysia and then took a connecting flight to Hong Kong, where they tested positive on arrival, according to those reports.

Earlier on August 28 and September 4, the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA) on Friday suspended Air India Express flights for 24 hours to carry two passengers with COVID positive certificates.

This is the second such instance of Hong Kong suspending Air India on August 18 "for carrying too many passengers infected with COVID-19".

"Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) depend on testing reliability and accuracy and on public following all safety measures all the time. And airport staff need to be tested nearly daily", the person added.

Notably, scheduled worldwide passenger flights continue to remain suspended in India since March 23 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Authorities need to probe if Air India faltered in handling the SOP and if yes why, Joshi added.

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