“Air Bubbles Only Work When…”: Why Lufthansa Cancelled Flights To India

Deutsche Lufthansa AG’s decision to scrap flights to India following a clash over coronavirus-related travel curbs illustrates just how difficult bringing back inter-continental flights is proving.

Europe’s biggest airline said Tuesday it was pulling 23 weekly flights for the next three weeks after India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation declined to sign off on the schedule. It complained that Germany had imposed stricter entry restrictions leading to an “inequitable distribution of traffic.”

The falling-out, which shatters an accord in place for several months, shows how attempts to reopen international routes are being frustrated by parallel efforts to halt the virus’s spread. Germany has one of the lowest death-rates from Covid-19 in Europe, while India has the highest infection total after the U.S.

“Air bubbles only work when implemented between countries with similar infection levels,” said Mark D Martin of Martin Consulting.

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