Canada, in a huge blow to thousands of travellers, has extended its flight ban for India until 21st August 2021. The announcement means that the busy travel season before the beginning of college terms will be hampered.
Canada has extended its travel ban on India for the third time since late April. The decision comes despite some high-level communication to ease the ban, with the Indian High Commissioner to Canada sending a diplomatic note to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to reconsider its ban last week.
However, Canada maintains that because of the extensive spread of the Delta variant, which first emerged in India, direct travel is too high risk. The restrictions mean that no direct flights can operate between Canada and India, and no COVID-19 tests taken in India are valid for entry into Canada.
This decision will be a huge blow to thousands of travellers currently stuck in India due to the restrictions. The extension into the month of August means that Air India and Air Canada, both the airlines which operate nonstop flights between the two countries, will miss out on the flurry of students and parents travelling for the start of the college year. This is a huge disappointment for airlines, considering the tens of thousands of Indian students in Canada.
Possible to fly indirectly
In addition to the travel ban, the government of Canada has also updated its guidance on travel via an ‘indirect route’. Passengers who can present a negative COVID-19 test result conducted outside of India, including at a transit stop, are exempt from the travel restrictions. This opens the door to several indirect options for passengers.
Furthermore, anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the last two weeks to three months can use their positive test to skip pre-departure testing. However, this positive test must be done in a lab outside India, making it more challenging than the step above.
Stay up to date: Sign up for my newsletter to never miss latest Aviation and Travel news.
Limited countries open for Indians
For travellers from India, the number of countries currently allowing entry remains extremely limited. Switzerland, the Maldives, Spain, Mexico, Egypt and Germany are some of the countries presently accepting travellers from India without the need to quarantine. However, with travel guidelines changing on a near-daily basis, it’s important to recheck before booking any flights and again before departure.
Traveling to Canada is not as simple as it was before April, but several options exist for those who must reach before 21st August 2021. In some good news, Canada has announced that it will reopen its border to fully vaccinated Americans on 9th August and to fully vaccinated travellers from across the globe on 7th September 2021. We can hope that by then, Canada will have eased entry restrictions for Indians too.
As Canada is reopening its borders to travellers from the United States, Air Canada has announced that it will have up to 220 daily flights between the two countries.
What do you think of Canada extending its travel ban on India? Let me know in the comments section below.