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IATA urges India to lift restrictions on international flights, end domestic fare capping

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) urged the Indian government to remove COVID-19 related restrictions on airlines in the country. The body of 290 global airlines wants India to resume operation of international flights along with an end to capacity restrictions and fare capping for domestic airlines.

The operation of international flights was suspended in India following the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the country has established air travel bubbles with over 25 countries. The restrictions on capacity and fares were imposed by the Ministry of Civil Aviation over a year ago in May, when flight services first resumed after the nationwide lockdown.

Director General of IATA Willie Walsh said on July 27 the Indian government should make decisions based on data and science, and remove the restrictions that are impeding the recovery of the aviation sector.

“Politicians are quick to impose measures but slow to remove them,” Walsh told the media at a press event. Walsh added that travel bubbles were not intended for long-term use but for the return of stranded citizens in other countries. The current global situation was different from last year, he said.

This is not the first time Walsh has criticised COVID-19 related impositions on airlines. The apex global aviation industry body had stated in the past that all restrictions should be temporary and be removed at the earliest possible time. Walsh has advocated the removal of restrictions based on data gathered by the IATA, which predicted a catastrophic economic impact on the industry due to the restrictions.

Walsh also hoped that the Indian government would soon end the capacity restrictions and fare caps on domestic airlines, something which he says has further contributed to the slow recovery of the sector. “Recovery is significantly impacted by regulations,” Walsh added. (Source

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