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Canada Lifts Ban On Flights From India

Canada has lifted a ban on direct flights from India after high COVID-19 cases in the subcontinent saw authorities step in and temporarily suspend services. Transport Canada has posted an update on its website confirming the change.

Canada is allowing direct flights from India. Photo: Air Canada

Passengers allowed into Canada subject to COVID test results

Canada banned direct flights from India in April. What was initially a short-term stopgap segued into a five-month rolling ban. As recently as two weeks ago, Canadian authorities extended that ban. But in an abrupt change of mind,  Canada lifted the ban at 00:01 EDT on September 27.

“Direct flights from India to Canada have resumed,” the Transport Canada website advises. However, it isn’t open access. Inbound passengers must obtain a pre-departure negative COVID-19 molecular test result from a specific laboratory at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport. That lab must conduct the test within 18 hours of departure, and the passenger must present the test result and a lab-issued QR code to check-in staff at Delhi.

“Airlines will refuse boarding to any traveler who’s unable to meet these requirements,” warns Transport Canada.

Air India is resuming flights to Toronto & Vancouver within days. Photo: Getty Images

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Air Canada resumes flights to New Delhi

Canada-bound passengers from India who travel via an indirect route will still need to provide a pre-departure negative COVID-19 molecular test result from that third country before continuing their journey to Canada.

India’s High Commissioner to Canada, Ajay Bisaria, welcomed the decision as “a decisive step towards normalizing air mobility.”

Both Air Canada and Air India are reviving their nonstop flights between the two countries. Air Canada Senior Vice President Mark Galardo said on Tuesday;

“We are very pleased to resume service immediately from India to our Toronto and Vancouver hubs. We continue to be focused on the growing visiting friends and relatives market, and together with the long-standing cultural and business ties between Canada and India which are expected to grow over the coming years.”

Adding that Air Canada remained strongly committed to the Indian market, Galardo noted Air Canada had operated flights from Toronto and Vancouver to Delhi and from Toronto to Mumbai since 2015. New non-stop flights from Montreal to Delhi and the resumption of services to Mumbai are in the pipeline, awaiting improved passenger demand.

Flights from Delhi to both Toronto and Vancouver have already begun landing. By early October, as schedules bed down again, there will be daily Air Canada flights across the Vancouver – Delhi and the Toronto – Delhi city pairs.

Air India kicks off flights to Toronto & Vancouver

Meanwhile, via its Twitter feed, Air India has announced the resumption of nonstop flights between Delhi and Vancouver every Monday, Friday, and Sunday from October 1.

Searching Air India’s booking engine, it looks like AI185 will push back from New Delhi at 03:30 on these three mornings of the week, landing in Vancouver 16 hours later at 07:00 on the same day. An Air India Boeing 777-300ER will operate the 6,927 mile (11,148 kilometer) odyssey.

Flying in the opposite direction, the Air India Boeing will depart Vancouver operating AI186 at 10:15 on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and touch down in Delhi at 14:45 the next day.

Air India also announced the resumption of daily flights between Delhi and Toronto from September 30. After an extended period of quiet on the flight corridor between the two countries, the Canada – India routes are suddenly humming again.

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