(Adds no immediate comment from airline group, Indian Embassy in Washington, comment on Twitter from India ministry)
By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON, July 17 (Reuters) - The government of India has agreed to allow U.S. air carriers to resume passenger services in the U.S.-India market starting July 23, the U.S. Transportation Department said on Friday.
The Indian government, citing the coronavirus, had banned all scheduled services, prompting the U.S. Transportation Department in June to accuse India of engaging in “unfair and discriminatory practices” on charter air carriers serving India.
The Transportation Department said it was withdrawing an order it had issued requiring Indian air carriers to apply for authorization prior to conducting charter flights, and said it had approved an Air India application for passenger charter flights between the United States and India.
A group representing major U.S. airlines and the Indian Embassy in Washington did not immediately comment on Friday.
India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation said on Twitter it was moving to “further expand our international civil aviation operations” and arrangements from some flights “with US, UAE, France & Germany are being put in place while similar arrangements are also being worked out with several other countries.”
“Under this arrangement,” it added, “airlines from the concerned countries will be able to operate flights from & to India along with Indian carriers.”
The U.S. Transportation Department order was set to take effect next week. The Trump administration said in June it wanted “to restore a level playing field for U.S. airlines” under the U.S.-India Air Transport Agreement. The Indian government had banned all scheduled services and failed to approve U.S. carriers for charter operations, it added.
The U.S. government said in June that Air India had been operating “repatriation” charter flights between India and the United States in both directions since May 7.
Reporting by David Shepardson Editing by Chris Reese and Leslie Adler