At the outset, IAAI appreciates national carrier Air India and its subsidiary Air India Express for the remarkable and commendable efforts in bringing back Indian nationals stranded abroad in various countries around the world and are continuing their commendable mission. Accordingly, AI and IX published their flight schedules and announced that it will be accepting eligible passengers who are desirous of travelling abroad to the selected destinations as per the norms published and open to passengers to make reservations through their respective websites.
The new normal has made both Air India and Air India express to grant special permissions to all authorised travel agents in UAE to take part in this evacuation program. Travel agents in UAE are now allowed to issue tickets for Indian nationals who all are registered on the website of the Indian Consulates and fulfil the required entry conditions and desires to be repatriated by the Vande Bharat Mission fights to India.
Travel agencies play a vital role in promoting the airline’s market share. 80 per cent of the industry’s tickets are sold by agents and the agents in India have always supported Air India and Air India Express in their good and bad days. Hence, IAAI has requested both the carriers to provide ticketing facilities to the accredited travel agents in India and make them also a part of this great Vande Bharat mission.
Provision to issue tickets in India will be a blessing for many of the Indians stranded in foreign countries jobless and without money to buy air tickets and they can get help from their families or relatives in India. Many such families are in constant touch with travel agencies looking for the provision to send air tickets to bring their relatives back to India and this will also helpful for the outbound passengers travelling from India to foreign countries, as many are clueless for a way out.
Thus, IAAI officially has requested CMD, Air India, CEO of Air India Express, and CEO of Indigo Airlines in this regard and looks forward to a favourable reply from their end.
Further, with reference to the DGCA circular of July 3, 2020, empowering the competent authority to allow international scheduled flights on selected routes case to case basis, IAAI also wrote to the Ministry of Civil Aviation(MoCA) and DGCA to understand the gravity of the present challenges and complexities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with the continuing lockdowns, and requested to take necessary steps to allow all authorised Indian travel agents to issue tickets on all flights operating to/from India under the great national move Vande Bharat Mission or evacuation/repatriation program.
In a statement by Advocate Jose Abraham, Pravasi Legal Cell Global President, he commented, “Facilities to issue tickets from India will be a great relief and support to many of our Indian community (Pravasi) stranded aboard without jobs and money.” He also requested all concerned authorities to take appropriate steps to implement this process urgently.