After a ban that lasted for more than five months, Canada, on Sunday, September 26, announced that it will allow direct flights from India. The new rules will come into effect from Monday, September 27. "Beginning at 00:01 EDT on September 27, direct flights from India can land in Canada with additional public health measures in place," Transport Canada tweeted on Saturday.
However, travellers must carry proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test from the approved Genestrings Laboratory at the Delhi airport, which should be taken within 18 hours of the scheduled departure of the direct flight to Canada, added Transport Canada. In April, Canada had banned all direct flights to and from India when the second wave of COVID-19 infections hit India. The date of reopening has been postponed many times.
Welcoming the decision, India's high commissioner to Canada Ajay Bisaria described it as a "decisive step towards normalising air mobility" between the two nations. "Air India and Air Canada are now set to run daily flights between Delhi and Toronto/Vancouver from 27 September. Working with Canadian partners to further ease travel," he tweeted.
Great to see a decisive step towards normalising air mobility between and . @airindiain and @AirCanada now set to run daily flights bw Delhi and Toronto/Vancouver from 27 September. Working with Canadian partners to further ease travel. @HCI_Ottawa @MEAIndia @IndiainToronto https://t.co/aizjEhv9fcâ€” Ajay Bisaria (@Ajaybis) September 26, 2021
The latest decision comes after all passengers on three direct flights from India to Canada tested negative for coronavirus. As part of its preparation to reopen the direct route from India to Canada, the latter had allowed three direct flights from India on September 22. â€śThree direct flights from India will arrive in Canada and all passengers on these flights will be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival to ensure that the new measures are working,â€ť Transport Canada had said.
With the expiry of the restriction on direct flights, travellers entering Canada via direct flights from India will have to follow additional measures. Transport Canada listed out the guidelines for travellers from India who are eligible to enter Canada:
> Travellers must have proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test from the approved Genestrings Laboratory at the Delhi airport taken within 18 hours of the scheduled departure of their direct flight to Canada.
> Prior to boarding, air operators will check the travellersâ€™ test results to ensure they are eligible to enter Canada, and that fully vaccinated travellers have uploaded their information into the ArriveCAN mobile app or website. Travellers who are unable to meet these requirements will be denied boarding.
> After the resumption of direct flights, passengers who travel from India to Canada via an indirect route will continue to be required to obtain, within 72 hours of departure, a valid negative COVID-19 molecular test from a third country â€“ other than India â€“ before continuing their journey to Canada.
(With inputs from PTI)