Two Covid positive passengers were allowed to board flights in violation of rules.
The Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA) has suspended Air India Express flights flying to and from Dubai for 15 days, for flying two passengers with Covid-19 positive test results from India to Dubai on two separate occasions.
The authority, in a notice of suspension to the regional of Air India and Air India Express in the Gulf and Mena region, has informed the airline that the 15-day suspension officially began on 12am on Friday (September 18) and will end on 11.59pm on October 2.
Khaleej Times has seen a copy of this notice. The notice said: “Boarding a passenger with Covid 19 positive test result for the second time is contrary to and is in violation of the laid down procedures and/or protocols relating to air travel to and from airports in the emirate of Dubai, during the coronavirus SARS Cov2 pandemic.” The passengers arrived in Dubai on September 2 and September 4, respectively.
DCAA has asked Air India to pay for all the expenditures incurred by the respective authorities on medical and/ or quarantine of any passengers and other passengers in that flight for any related expenditure.
The notice added: “For the resumption of operation to Dubai Airports, you will be requested to submit a detailed corrective action/procedure implemented to prevent such incidents from occurring again, for authority review and assessment.”
Air India Express has been operating special repatriation flights under the Vande Bharat Mission banner since May, ever since India has shut down its scheduled international flights amid the pandemic. However, India has an air bubble agreement with UAE that is valid till October 31.
The UAE has made it mandatory for all incoming passengers to procure a Covid-19 negative test result. From India, passengers can get the test results from a Pure Health or an Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) approved laboratory.
In a recent interview with Khaleej Times, Neeraj Agarwal, Consul – Press, Information, and Culture, at the Consulate General of India in Dubai said a total of 368,000 Indians have been repatriated since the start of the Vande Bharat Mission. Roughly 6,000-6,500 passengers are flying between both countries every day, with a higher prevalence of reverse migration.
Several passengers who had booked their tickets for the weekend have also started receiving messages from the airline stating that their flight stands cancelled.
Khaleej Times has reached out to the Air India Express for a response.
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