The ministry of civil aviation has found breaches of the air bubble agreement put in place between India and the United Arab Emirates by some UAE airlines that carried unauthorised transit passengers from India.
A transport bubble or air bubble arrangement is a temporary arrangement between two countries aimed at restarting commercial passenger services when regular international flights are suspended as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. They are reciprocal in nature, meaning airlines from both countries enjoy similar benefits and are subject to similar restrictions.
Under the agreement, airlines are only allowed to carry passengers between the two countries and not beyond. India has put in place air bubble agreements with several countries in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic which led to a suspension of international flights
In a letter to the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) of the UAE earlier this month, the ministry of civil aviation wrote: “We are in receipt of reports of violation of the provisions of air bubble arrangement by UAE carriers by carrying unauthorized transit passengers”.
HT has seen a copy of the letter, which reads: “We would further request you inform the UAE carriers to ensure that the revised provisions of the air bubble arrangement are followed in true spirit”.
Arun Kumar, director general of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), confirmed this. “We have acted upon such inputs and the airlines concerned have been advised and reprimanded,” Kumar said.