New Delhi: The direct flight services between India and China, which got disrupted ever since coronavirus was first reported in Wuhan in late 2019, are unlikely to resume in the near future unless Beijing modifies its policy of sudden cancellation of scheduled flights every time some passengers are tested positive for COVID on arrival in Chinese airports, news agency PTI reported quoting informed sources.
India and China are in talks for several months to resume the limited flight services, but the negotiations made little headway due to Beijing’s insistence on flight cancellations rule related to COVID passengers, the sources said.
The airlines find it hard to comply with the rule as they are not the ones that conduct the COVID-19 tests which are mandatory for all passengers travelling to China, the sources said. The COVID tests are conducted at designated centres by the Chinese Embassy in India and also the “green code” to travel by flight is given by the Chinese mission without which passengers cannot board the flight, they said.
How Disruption of Flights Affected Indians?
The disruption of the flight services created a lot of problems for hundreds of Indian students as well as families of Indians working in China and businessmen to travel back and forth though Beijing recently lifted the visa ban after about three years.
Following this, about 23,000 Indian students, mostly studying medicine who were stranded back home due to China’s COVID visa bans, made preparations to travel to China to rejoin their colleges but experienced difficulties due to the absence of direct flights.
The flights through the third countries were exorbitantly expensive in view of the demand.
However, over 100 Indian students reportedly returned to China in recent weeks travelling through the third country routes, especially via Hong Kong.
Informed sources here said, in view of the unlikelihood of the resumption of flights, Indians are advised to travel through Hong Kong which has daily connectivity from India. From there they can take a flight to Chinese cities, where they have to undergo a seven-day quarantine.
(With Inputs from PTI)