Canada – Flight ban from India extended to June 22 by Air Canada
Air Canada is now only accepting booking beginning in late June, as a spokesperson for the airline told Global News that they “have further extended the suspension of flights from India until June 22”. “We did this in anticipation of the existing suspension of flights between the two countries being extended,” the spokesperson added.
Prior to the suspension, both Air Canada and Air India were operating almost daily flights between the Canadian cities of Toronto and Vancouver and New Delhi in an air corridor arrangement that came into place last summer.
The ban was initially set to protect Canada from the B.1.617 COVID-19 variant spreading rapidly in India. Canada has not identified the variant as a ‘variant of concern’ (VOC) yet but instead as a ‘variant of interest’ — although the U.K. and the World Health Organization recently labelled it a VOC.
At the time the federal government first announced the ban, half of air travellers arriving in Canada that had tested positive for COVID-19 had come from India, even though only one-fifth of flights were from the country, according to Health Minister Patty Hajdu.
With flights to and from India and Pakistan on hold due to major COVID-19 outbreaks and Ontario trying to stop international students from entering the province altogether, study permit holders are facing an uncertain future.