German airline Lufthansa on Tuesday said it has cancelled all "planned flights" between India and Germany from September 30 to October 20 following a dispute with the Indian government over the number of flights it is currently permitted to operate. The airline had applied for the continuation of special flights it was granted to operate until the end of September but will now have to cancel the flights due to the "unexpected rejection" of its flight schedule by the Indian government.
"Lufthansa had applied for the continuation of special flights it was granted to operate until the end of September. This application process is necessary since India has so far not accepted the invitation by the German government to discuss details regarding a temporary travel agreement between both countries. Due to the Indian government's rejection, Lufthansa will now have to cancel all planned flights between Germany and India between 30 September and 20 October," the German carrier said.
"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.
The airline said it "sincerely urges" Indian authorities to work together with the German government to establish a temporary travel agreement between both countries. "As visa issuance is restarting and demand for flights to and from India is increasing, it is regrettable that Lufthansa is currently being unnecessarily restricted," it noted.
Scheduled international passenger flights have been suspended in India since March 23 due to the coronavirus lockdown. However, special flights have been permitted under "air bubble" arrangements India has formed with 13 countries, including Germany.
By Chitranjan Kumar