Dubai suspends AI Express flights till October 2 for flying infected passengers
Boarding a passenger with Covid-19 positive test result for the second time is contrary to and is in violation of the laid-down procedures and protocols, stated the noticeUpdated: Sep 18, 2020, 15:35 IST
The Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA) has suspended Air India Express flights between India and Dubai, the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) biggest city, from Friday until October 2.
The flights have been temporarily barred because a passenger on a recent Jaipur-Dubai flight operated by Air India Express, the low-cost airline of the national carrier Air India, was found to be coronavirus disease (Covid-19) positive by the DCAA authorities. This was the second time the airline flew an infected passenger.
The DCAA has sent a notice to Air India Express. The notice stated that the flight IX1135 operated by the airline from Jaipur to Dubai International Airport (DIA), had a passenger on board, who had contracted SARS-CoV-2 that causes Covid-19.
The notice is in HT’s possession.
“You are aware of our previous intimation made to you by our letter dated September 2 for boarding a passenger with a Covid-19 positive test result, who endangered the other passengers on board and also caused a serious health risk.
Boarding a passenger with Covid-19 positive test result for the second time is contrary to and is in violation of the laid-down procedures and protocols relating to air travel to and from airports in the Emirate of Dubai during the pandemic,” stated the notice.
The notice has led to the temporary suspension of all Air India Express flights to Dubai for the next 15 days.
“This (suspension) has been effective from 00:00 hours on Friday, September 18, until 23:59 hours of October 2,” the notice added.
“Air India Express has received the ‘Notice of Suspension’ from Dubai Civil Aviation Authority on September 17, 2020, as per which the airline’s operations to Dubai airport are temporarily suspended for a duration of 15 days w.e.f September 18, 2020.The Notice has been issued on account of the erroneous acceptance of one Covid-19 positive passenger by the airline’s ground handling agents at Delhi and Jaipur on Air India Express flights to Dubai on August 28 and September 4 respectively,” said an airline spokesperson.
“Passengers who were seated in close proximity to the Covid-19 positive passenger on each flight have undergone a Covid-19 test / been quarantined as determined by the Dubai health authority. The airline has reiterated the instructions to handling agencies in India to strictly adhere to regulations/ SOP and has advised them to implement a three-tier checking mechanism to avoid any such lapse in the future,” he added.
Airline officials said that the ground handling agencies concerned have taken appropriate punitive action against their employees who have been held accountable for the lapse at Delhi and Jaipur.
An airline official said, “Prior to the receipt of the notice, the airline submitted a letter to the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority expressing our apologies and detailing the various actions taken by us in association with the ground handling agents concerned to guard against such a lapse in the future. In order to decrease the inconvenience that may be caused to passengers booked to fly to Dubai, the airline has introduced additional flights to Sharjah to accommodate the affected passengers. The affected passengers who have booked to fly to Dubai are also being given the option to re-book to a future date.