New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: German airline Lufthansa has decided to cancel all planned flights between Germany and India from September 30 to October 20. The move comes after Indian authorities rejected Lufthansa's planned flight schedule for October. The airline major had applied for the continuation of special flights it was granted to operate until the end of September.

"Due to the Indian government's rejection of Lufthansa's flight schedule for October, Lufthansa will now have to cancel all planned flights between Germany and India between 30 September and 20 October, unfortunately" the airline said in a statement.

The Director General of Civil Aviation said the number of weekly flights being operated by Lufthansa as part of the air bubble between India and Germany during the pandemic is 20 while Indian carriers can only operate between three and four flights per week.

This puts Indian carriers at a significant disadvantage resulting in inequitable distribution of traffic in favour of Lufthansa," the civil aviation regulator's statement said.

An air bubble is a bilateral arrangement with a set of regulations and restrictions in which the carriers of the two countries can operate international flights.

India currently has air bubble arrangements with 13 countries including USA, UK, France, Germany, Canada, Maldives, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Nigeria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Japan. 

The airliner said its application process to operate flights beyond September 30 was necessary since India has so far not accepted Germany''s invitation to discuss details regarding a temporary travel agreement between both countries.

"It is important to note that the October flight schedule would essentially have been an extension of the already limited number of flights between India and Germany that Lufthansa has been reintroducing to the Indian market since June," it added.

Lufthansa said it had scheduled flights for October in order to continue connecting Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore with Europe and other regions in its worldwide network.

"The October schedule would also have seen the addition of flights to and from Chennai, one of the most important cities in southern India," the airline said.

Lufthansa said it "sincerely urges" Indian authorities to work together with the German government to establish a temporary travel agreement between both countries.

Posted By: Rakesh Kumar Jha