New rules for chartered flights to repatriate NRIs - GulfToday

New rules for chartered flights to repatriate NRIs


Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

Imran Mojib, Special Correspondent

More than 60,000 Indians have been repatriated through flights operated by Air India or chartered flights of other airlines under the Vande Bharat Mission launched on May 7 to repatriate Indians stranded in the UAE due to Covid-19 situation.

More than 200 chartered flights have been facilitated by the Embassy of India, Abu Dhabi, and the Consulate General of India, Dubai, under the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) of the Government of India.

Now, the Government of India has stipulated new guidelines to operate chartered flights According to the new guidelines, airlines providing charter services are responsible to coordinate with various state governments of India on Covid-19 testing, quarantine and flight scheduling requirements. Ever since charter flights were allowed for repatriation, India’s Ministry of External Affairs was coordinating these with state governments through the Indian missions.

According to the Consulate General of India, Dubai, chartered flights from Thursday onwards will be operated under the new Standard Operating Procedures to repatriate Indians from the UAE

As per the new guidelines, the chartering entities will have to choose an Air Transport Operator (ATO) on their own.

The ATOs will have to send the Indian state, where the destination airport is located, their flight plans, State clearance forms and passenger manifests directly, with a copy to the Indian Embassy or Consulate in the UAE While the Embassy or Consulate will vet the passenger manifest, the ATO simultaneously should proceed to get State Clearance for the flight directly in writing.

Once the state clearance is in hand, the ATO will need to get a No Objection Certificate (NOC) for the manifest from the Embassy or the Consulate, followed by application for DGCA flight clearance.

States and ATOs manage flight schedule, frequency with regard to all arriving passengers. They should also coordinate with each other where chartered flights have mixed domicile passengers. If required, chartering entities will need to finalise quarantine arrangements directly with the States.

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