As the CoronaVirus outbreak continues to spread, governments around the world continue to evaluate their response. Air travel has taken a beating given the contagious nature of the virus, and hence, demand is down, way down. India, as a measure of response, had already closed out their borders to all visa holders/OCI not in India as of a specific date. Mostly, visa-free access to OCI holders was cut off, and visas are suspended at the moment, so India would not be able to accept any passenger who is travelling to India at the moment, who does not have an Indian passport.
India has issued an updated travel advisory on March 16, 2020. The announcement read as follows:
In continuation of the travel advisory issued on 11th March 2020, the following additional advisory is issued:
(i) Expanding compulsory quarantine for a minimum period of 14 days for passengers coming from/transiting through UAE, Qatar, Oman, and Kuwait. This will come into effect from 1200 GMT on 18th March 2020 at the port of first departure.
(ii) Travel of passengers from member countries of the European Union, the European Free Trade Association, Turkey and United Kingdom to India is prohibited with effect from 18th March 2020. No airline shall board a passenger from these nations to India with effect from 1200 GMT on 18th March 2020. The airline shall enforce this at the port of initial departure.
(iii) Both these instructions are temporary measures and shall be in force till 31st March 2020 and will be reviewed subsequently.
To add to that advisory, India has disallowed any flights from Afghanistan, Philipines and Malaysia to fly to India from March 17, 2020, onwards through March 31, 2020.
The immediate impact of this, of course, was on IndiGo, which has pulled flights from Kuala Lumpur & Istanbul. In a statement from IndiGo,
As per the DGCA advisory to restrict international traffic from Turkey and Malaysia, IndiGo will be cancelling its flights between Delhi-Istanbul and Chennai-Kuala Lumpur from March 18, 2020 until March 31, 2020. The airline has already cancelled flights between Bangalore-Kuala Lumpur until March 31, 2020 and Delhi-Kuala Lumpur until April 30, 2020.
Malaysia Airlines flights to India will also be affected. The following flights are cancelled consequently.
Amongst other airlines, SpiceJet’s Kabul-Delhi operation will be affected, and so will be Air Asia which is based in Kuala Lampur.