Gulf carrier Etihad on Wednesday said it would provide all assistance to Indian students, who travelled on its flight to the US and had to return home due to refusal for entry, particularly those belonging to two California schools. “Any student who does not meet the requirements of the US authorities, will be assisted by Etihad Airways with travel arrangements back to their point of origin,” Etihad said in a statement. National carrier Air India has already announced that it will not accept students bound for these two universities — Silicon Valley University at San Jose and Northwestern Polytechnic University, Fremont — till it gets a go-ahead from its US office.
The state-run carrier had on Sunday night stopped 19 Indian students heading to the two US universities from boarding a San Francisco-bound flight, citing a communication from US Customs and Border Protection agency. As many as 14 Indian students were last week deported as these institutions were “under scrutiny,” Air India had said. The Middle Eastern airline, which is an investment partner in domestic private airline Jet Airways, further said that it “understands current concerns of such students who have booked travel on Etihad Airways’ flights to the United States”.
“In recent days a number of Indian nationals have been refused entry to the USA due to visa irregularities identified during checks carried out by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP),” the airline said, adding affected students booked on Etihad Airways who choose not to travel from India to the US can get refunds on cancelled tickets as per the norms in this regard. Alternatively, they can rebook once at no extra charge in the original class of travel and same fare type subject to availability on flights up to January 31 to enable them to resolve their visa issues with the relevant authorities, it said.
However, such students are advised to contact the US consulate at their point of origin to confirm that their documentation is in order, Etihad said.