German airline Lufthansa on Tuesday said it will have to cancel all ‘planned flights’ between India and Germany from September 30 to October 20 because of an ‘unexpected rejection’ of its flight schedule by the Indian authorities. The airline said it had applied for continuation of the special flights it was allowed to operate until the end of September.
In a statement, Lufthansa said it had scheduled flights for October to continue connecting Delhi, Mumbai and Europe and other regions and additional flights were also supposed to be added to and from Chennai.
International flights have been suspended in India since March 23, when a nationwide lockdown was implemented due to the coronavirus lockdown. However, special flights were permitted under ‘air bubble’ arrangements India has formed with 13 countries, including Germany.
The airline’s statement added that India has not accepted Germany’s invitation to discuss details regarding a temporary travel agreement between both countries and added that its application process to operate flights beyond September 30 was necessary.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation said India formalised an air bubble with Germany in July this year however, it stated, “There are restrictions in place for Indian nationals desiring to travel to Germany which was putting Indian carriers at a significant disadvantage resulting in inequitable distribution of traffic in favour of Lufthansa.”
The aviation regulator said Lufthansa operated 20 flights a week, as against Indian carriers operating 3-4 flights a week. It added, “In spite of this disparity, we offered to clear 7 flights a week for Lufthansa, which was not accepted by them. Negotiations continue.”
“It is important to note that the October flight schedule would essentially have been an extension of the already limited number of flights between India and Germany that Lufthansa has been reintroducing to the Indian market since June,” Lufthansa’s statement added.
Lufthansa said it “sincerely urges” Indian authorities to work together with the German government to establish a temporary travel agreement between both countries.
According to the website of Germany Embassy in India, there is an entry ban on travellers from “high-risk areas” like India.
However, according to the website, German nationals, citizens of European Union, foreigners with a valid residence permit, persons holding family reunion visa, persons having long-term (Category “D”) visa for employment and study purposes and who have to necessarily travel to Germany can enter the country from India.