Air India is under scrutiny by international airports for flying in COVID-19 positive passengers. Initially highlighted by New Zealand, now Dubai and Hong Kong have banned Air India Express.
Hong Kong’s Center for Health Protection has suspended India’s national carrier till October 3. It attributed Hong Kong’s spike in COVID-19 cases to India, saying that one-third of the 23 new cases were in people who had recently traveled from India. In July, the Hong Kong government in its set of guidelines had outlined that a passenger from India can arrive in Hong Kong only if he or she has a COVID-19 negative certificate from a test done 72 hours prior to the journey. Moreover, Cathay Pacific in a statement said that five passengers from India who were onboard the Cathay Dragon flight between Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong on September 18 tested positive for COVID-19, despite having submitted negative nucleic acid tests before the trip.
The Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA) had suspended Air India Express flights for flying in passengers with COVID-19 positive certificates on August 28 and September 4. The UAE government rules state that passengers travelling from India are required to have an original COVID negative certificate from the RT-PCR test done 96 hours prior to the journey. Now, Dubai has banned flights from India for 15 days after Air India Express flew a COVID-19 positive traveller from Jaipur to Dubai on September 4. As such, all flights from India to Dubai airports have been temporarily suspended for 15 days, effective from September 18, until October 2, 2020. Furthermore, the airline will be notified to pay all the expenditure incurred by the respective authorities for medical services and/or quarantine of the passenger and the other passengers in the said flight. The DCAA also stated that for resumption of operation to Dubai Airports, the airline will be requested to submit a detailed corrective action/procedure implemented to prevent such incidents from occuring again for this authority review and assessment.