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Dubai suspends Air India Express flights for 15 days

Air India Express aircraft. File Photo.  

Dubai has suspended Air India Express flights for 15 days after the airline allowed two passengers on different flights to travel despite possessing a COVID-19 positive certificate.

The suspension came into effect on Friday and will affect nearly 75 flights. In July, Hong Kong suspended the parent airline, Air India, on similar grounds. Dubai is the biggest market for Air India Express.

The incidents pertain to a Delhi- Dubai flight on August 24 and a Jaipur-Dubai flight on September 4. 

Additional flights to Sharjah 

The airline said it would operate additional flights to Sharjah to accommodate affected passengers apart from offering them the option to reschedule their bookings. While Air India too flies to Dubai, the two airlines have independent operations and Air India Express can’t rebook passengers on Air India.

The airline said in a statement that it had asked its ground handling service provider, also a subsidiary of Air India, to take punitive action against two of their staff members who failed to screen the two passengers. 

“The Airline has reiterated the instructions to the handling agencies in India to strictly adhere to the regulation / SOP in relation to acceptance of passengers on the Airline’s flights. As abundant precaution, the Airline has advised the handling agents to implement a three-tier checking mechanism to avoid any such lapse in the future”, the airline said in a statement. 

Under normal circumstances, the airline served 13 short-haul destinations. But due to the ban on scheduled flight operations, Air India Express now connects only those countries in its network with whom India has created a bilateral “bubble””, which include UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Malaysia and Singapore. 

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Printable version | Oct 31, 2020 8:12:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/dubai-suspends-ai-express-flights-till-oct-2-for-bringing-passengers-with-covid-positive-certificates/article32637392.ece

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