Despite the current ban on direct international flights from India to Canada, Indian students have been paying up to $4,000 for a one-way ticket to land in Toronto or other Canadian airports. The government of Canada has imposed the ban in order to regulate the spread of the new Delta variant of Coronavirus which accounts for more than 27% of the new cases in Ontario.
Ontario has seen a recent surge in the number of Covid cases as more international flights landed in Toronto the previous week.
According to sources in the travel industry, Indians have been dealing with the ban on direct flights by using Muscat, Addis Ababa, Belgrade and Mexico City as transit points. International students have been allegedly paying up to $4,000 to land in Toronto and other airports in Canada via Doha and Addis Ababa.
A travel agent in Toronto said that Indian passengers are doing this because these airports transit points let them do a quick Covid test and board their next flights.
The agent further added that Indians were halting in Mexico City via Europe for two days, where they got tested for Covid, boarded their onward flight and landed in Toronto eventually.
In Muscat, passengers are asked to stay only for 14 hours to get tested for Covid and board their onward flights.
In Belgrade and Addis Ababa, they are asked to stay in a hotel for three days before they get tested for Covid and board their onward flights.
These passengers would test negative for Covid if they get their tests done after 14 hours or three days, as it takes at least five days for symptoms to arise. So, in case they get infected before boarding their flight from India, their symptoms will show right before or after landing in Canada.
An industry source told Economic Times that this was how many international flights were carrying Covid cases including those infected with the Delta variant.