Air Canada and Air India resume direct passenger flights from India to YVR

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A spokesperson for Vancouver International Airport said Air Canada and Air India had direct flights from India arriving on Monday.

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Direct passenger flights between India and Vancouver resumed Monday, with Air Canada and Air India resuming their nine direct flights per week.

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This came after Transport Canada revealed on Twitter on Sunday evening that the ban on direct flights between the two countries due to concerns over COVID-19 would be lifted at midnight. India is the source of the Delta COVID-19 variant which has completely taken over in British Columbia and is more contagious than the other variants.

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Transport Canada has said travelers must have a negative COVID-19 test from an approved lab at New Delhi airport no later than 18 hours before departure. Travelers must be fully immunized and registered on the federal government’s ArriveCAN mobile app or website.

A spokesperson for Vancouver International Airport said a direct Air Canada and Air India flight arrived from India on Monday.

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“Air India has another flight scheduled for the 29th and Air Canada has a flight scheduled for (September 28th),” the spokesperson said.

“Air Canada and Air India have restored their regular service to India, which includes three weekly flights via Air India and six weekly flights via Air Canada. This is the same schedule, for both airlines, as a pre-suspension. “

The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating for the airport and airline industry. In 2019, YVR saw 26.3 million passengers arrive and depart. In 2020, that number fell to 7.3 million passengers and between January and August there were 3.1 million inbound or outbound passengers.

A family’s trip raises questions about whether the ban on direct flights has had the intended impact.

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Hari Gopal Garg and his wife Komal Garg traveled from Toronto to India to adopt a baby girl, Kaveri, and were due to return to Canada on April 25, three days after the ban on direct flights.

The family decided to take a long trip home, crossing two other countries, so Garg could return to work and resume his life, he said.

Garg and his family began their trip on June 8, traveling from India to Paris via Mexico, before landing in Canada six days later. Their trip included a three-day stay in Mexico and COVID-19 testing at each stop.

“We were very nervous,” he said on Monday.

“You contact so many people along the way. You change flights. You stay in hotels. It is as if the government has created more ways to spread COVID. Otherwise, you could come directly without having so many points of contact.

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The family spent approximately $ 6,000 on the trip, including hotel stays. The trip would otherwise have cost them about $ 2,000.

“I don’t think the fly ban helped at all,” Garg said.

“It created more problems for people who were actually traveling and had a valid reason. It created more problems, more money spent and more mental stress. So that didn’t solve any purpose.

But Garg said he was “happy” that flights between countries have resumed as there are a number of seniors and families with children who may not have been able to make the long and expensive trip to Canada. .

“I just hope the government will make rational decisions in the future without any hidden political agenda,” Garg said.

“Think about the people who are suffering because of it, and then make wise decisions. “

Transport Canada announced in a press release last week an extension of the ban on all direct commercial and private passenger flights to Canada from India until Sunday.

– with files from Maan Alhmidi and Hina Alam

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