Air India Airbus A330-200. Photo: Konstantin Von Wedelstaedt.

MIAMI – After positive COVID-19 cases found on board an Air India (AI) flight to Hong Kong, the government of the Administrative Region has banned the airline. The suspension will last until December 3 and is the fifth ban for the airline.

Previously, passengers on AI flight from Delhi to Hong Kong tested positive after their arrival, with authorities temporarily cutting the carrier’s operations. As AI halted the route since July, New Delhi-Hong Kong flights were not available from August 18-31, September 20-October 3 and October 17-30. Apart from this route, the ban also affected Mumbai-Hong Kong flights from October 28 to November 10.

Currently, the travel restrictions between the two countries establish that passengers who fly from India can enter Hong Kong with negative COVID-19 test results within 72 hours prior to their departure. All travelers must then undergo a post-flight COVID-19 test at the airport. So far, Hong kong authorities have publicly mentioned the ban but not the amount of positive cases.

Air India Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner. Photo: Adrian Pingstone.

India-Hong Kong Safety Travel Protocols

While an AI spokesperson confirmed the flight suspension, the airline does not have any scheduled operations to Hong Kong during between November 20 and December 3.

To fly to the Chinese region, AI has had to submit a form before departure. The form states that passengers on board have with them COVID-negative test results. However, it is possible that mandatory after-landing and before-flying tests may show variances, said the spokesperson.

In India, international flights continue to be suspended due to the ongoing pandemic and new outbreaks. Despite this, the government has allowed special long-haul operations under the somewhat effective “air-bubbles.”

In regards to Hong Kong’s air travel permissions, the government has established the same mandatory certificates and protocols for other airlines. These include those from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, France, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Russia, South Africa, the UK and the US.

Featured photo: Air India Airbus A330-200. Photo: Konstantin Von Wedelstaedt.