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Thursday, December 09, 2021

Qatar travel ban to hurt Indian carriers; IndiGo, Air India and AI Express cancel Doha flights

After Kuwait, Qatar prohibits entry of travellers from India. However, flyers can pass through Doha airport for transit flights.

Written by Pranav Mukul | New Delhi |
March 10, 2020 1:30:21 am
coronavirus, indigo cancels flight to doha, doha bans indian passengers, coronavirus outbreak, coronavirus travel restrictions, coronavirus india news, indian express Following the Qatar government’s order, IndiGo, Air India and Air India Express cancelled their flights to Doha.

With number of people testing positive for coronavirus increasing in India every day, countries like Qatar and Kuwait have prohibited entry of travellers from India. While Qatar’s travel ban would mean that Qatar Airways continues its operations as a network airline, the move will hurt Indian carriers that function as point-to-point operators. Following the Qatar government’s order, IndiGo, Air India and Air India Express cancelled their flights to Doha.

“In addition to Qatar Airways announcement regarding flights to and from Italy, entry to the State of Qatar is temporarily suspended for all those intending to travel from certain countries, as of 9 March 2020. This decision comes as a preventive measure due to the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) worldwide. The decision includes the following countries: Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Syria and Thailand,” the Qatari government said in an official statement.

As on Monday, there were over 40 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in India, and a total of 9,41,717 international passengers from 8,827 flights have been screened at airports till date with 54 passengers being referred to the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme or other hospitals. Currently, Qatar Airways, IndiGo, Air India and Air India Express connect Indian cities to the west-Asian country’s capital city Doha.

In a statement, Qatar Airways said that entry to Qatar was temporarily suspended for all those travelling from the 14 countries, and only those passengers with onward connections through Doha will be accepted for travel.

“Owing to the travel ban for people of multiple nationalities, including Indian nationals, IndiGo will be cancelling its flights to Doha till March 17, 2020. We will be monitoring the situation closely and will share further updates once the ban is lifted,” IndiGo said in a statement.

IndiGo operates non-stop daily flights between Doha and Mumbai, Kochi, Kozhikode, Delhi, Hyderabad and Chennai.

According to information from flight-tracking portal Flightradar24, Air India and Air India Express’ flights to Doha from airports like Delhi, Mumbai, Kochi, etc were cancelled. For Air India, Doha adds to the list of international destinations, for which the national carrier has reduced its flights in wake of the coronavirus situation. These include flights to Milan and Rome in Italy and Seoul in South Korea, where the flights have been reduced to two per week from three or four flights per week. Similarly flights to Tokyo have been reduced to four a week from five per week earlier.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation of Kuwait had announced last week that all flights to the country to and from India and six other countries — Bangladesh, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt — were temporarily suspended.

In a similar move, India had banned flights to and from Iran on February 27, but lifted the restrictions to allow Iran to evacuate citizens stranded in India and vice versa. India has also suspended all visas granted to foreign nationals from China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, and Japan. Both regular and e-visas, granted to all foreign nationals who have travelled to any of these countries on or after February 1, also stand cancelled.

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