Canada Considers Lifting India Flight Ban

Canada is preparing to start direct flights from India from September 27th and is currently testing out new protocols. At the moment, direct scheduled passenger services between the two countries continue to remain suspended. But that could change soon if the Canadian authorities are satisfied with the trial flights that took off from New Delhi for Canada on September 22nd. Let’s find out more.

Air Canada 787
Direct passenger flights between India and Canada could resume soon if new measures are deemed satisfactory. Photo: Getty Images

Direct flights could resume after five months

Direct passenger flights between India and Canada were suspended on April 23rd following the deadly second COVID wave in India. Canada has again extended the ban until September 26th, but this is to buy some more time to see if the new travel protocols are working.

On Tuesday, Transport Canada released the following statement,

“As a first step, on September 22, 2021, three 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.”

A lot depends on the Canadian authorities being satisfied with the test results of the passengers arriving on these flights. If everything looks in order, direct flights between the two countries could resume on September 27th.

dog on tarmac stops traffic at toronto airport
Transport Canada will test incoming passengers from three trial flights from India to see if the new measures are working. Photo: Getty Images

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Rules and conditions for traveling

According to Transport Canada, passengers boarding a flight from New Delhi will have to adhere to the following rules:

  • Travelers 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 be checking the travelers’ test results ensuring they are eligible to come to Canada, and that fully vaccinated travelers have uploaded their information into the ArriveCAN mobile app or website. Travelers who are unable to meet these requirements will be denied boarding.
Delhi airport
Passengers departing for Canada must get tested for COVID at Delhi’s IGI Airport only. Photo: Getty Images

It’s important to note that passengers must be tested at the approved lab at Delhi airport, as tests from any other lab in India will not be accepted.

Transport Canada has also laid down rules for anyone traveling to the country via an indirect route, stating,

“After the resumption of direct flights, travellers who are eligible to enter Canada who depart India for 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 – other than India – before continuing their journey to Canada.”

Good news for Indian travelers

Regardless of a direct connection, both India and Canada maintain strict protocols for traveling. In fact, non-essential travel is still discouraged by both countries. However, a direct flight connection could be a huge sigh of relief for many Indian travelers.

Canada traditionally sees massive arrivals from India as students, immigrants or just to visit family and friends. Prior to the pandemic, both Air India and Air Canada operated flights connecting India with Toronto (YYZ) and Vancouver (YVR).

While international travel still comes with heavy regulations and constantly changing protocols, those looking to traveling to Canada from India will undoubtedly welcome a direct connection.