Air India has opened bookings for International flights to the United States starting July 22. Under the fourth phase of Vande Bharat Mission, the airline has announced 180 flights, bookings for which can be made on its official website, booking offices or authorised travel agents.
In June the US Department of Transportation (DoT) had said that it would restrict charter flights from India, accusing New Delhi of engaging in "discriminatory and restrictive practices".
#FlyAI : 180 Flights between India and USA under Vande Bharat Mission are scheduled. Tickets can be booked through Air India website, booking offices and Authorised Travel Agents. pic.twitter.com/mQklq3wInk— Air India (@airindiain) July 19, 2020
Following the announcement, the Civil Aviation Ministry said that it has received requests from several countries, including the US, France and Germany for allowing their air carriers to participate in the transportation of passengers along the line being conducted by Air India under the Vande Bharat Mission and that the ministry was examining the requests.
Air India and domestic private carriers are allowed to operate flights under the programme which has pre-fixed ticket charges. The fourth phase of Vande Bharat Mission began on July 3 to bring back Indian stranded abroad amid the pandemic.
With a limited demand, Air India recently proposed a 60 per cent salary cut for pilots amid the coronavirus pandemic which has infected 55 of its cockpit crew members. While scheduled international flights have been suspended in the country since March 23, Air India has been operating international repatriation flights all around the world under Vande Bharat Mission. Moreover, since scheduled domestic passenger flight operations resumed on May 25, the airline has been operating services domestically too.