Air India Express flights to Dubai suspended after infected passenger detected
This is the second time that the airline has allowed a COVID-19 positive passenger to travel to Dubai onboard its flight.
Starting September 18, the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority has stopped all Air India Express operations after a COVID-19 positive person was found among the passengers flying in from Jaipur on September 4. It was only on August 28 that another infected passenger was found on the Delhi-Dubai flight. For these lapses, the airline has been suspended until October 2.
The UAE government has mandated that passengers travelling from India must carry an COVID-19 negative certificate from a RT-PCR test done no earlier than 96 hours before the flight. The Jaipur passenger had a positive test issued on September 2.
The Dubai authority wrote to the airline saying the passenger had endangered other passengers aboard and caused a serious health risk. That it was happening for the second time is in violation of the procedure laid down by the Emirate of Dubai. Dubai has an air bubble with India that allows both sides to operate scheduled flights.
The airline has been asked to submit a detailed plan on how it was going to prevent such incidents in the future. It was also required to pay for all the expenses incurred in testing and quarantining some of the passengers who were seated close to the infected person.
The airline said their ground handling agents had erroneously accepted the COVID-19 positive passenger and punitive action at been taken against them. As a precaution and to prevent such lapses in the future, the carrier is instructing its agents on the ground to implement a three-tier checking mechanism. Air India Express said it was introducing more flights to Sharjah to compensate for the suspension of Dubai flights.
Air India Expressâ€™ ground handling is done by a subsidiary of Air India, Air India Air Transport Services Limited (AIATSL) which also operates ground handling for Air India. Air India was suspended recently from flying to Hong Kong for carrying passengers infected with the virus. The ban ran from August 18 to August 31.
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