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India Marches Towards Opening Air Transport Operations By Creating Air Bubbles

by Radhakrishnan Pattabiraman

The coronavirus pandemic has posed major air travel challenges for both Indian and foreign nationals. For months, international flights were not allowed with the exception for government-sponsored repatriation flights. That is starting to change now.

© Airbus / P. Pigeyre

Good news for international travellers to and from India

The Ministry of Civil Aviation has announced so-called ‘Air Transport Bubbles’: temporary and exclusive flight arrangements between countries. Passengers can now look forward to international air travel again. More flights, more destinations and more, including foreign, carriers will be allowed to operate again.

The arrangements are targeted at easing travel issues and is between two countries.  They are temporary in nature until scheduled services are put back in place.

The “Air Bubbles’ during this COVID-19 pandemic are part of the agreement signed between the U.S.A., Canada, UK, France, Germany,  & the U.A.E.,

Carriers of both countries can fly to each other’s destinations. Suspended flight operations will be able to resume with this arrangement albeit with a limited schedule.

Arrangement for inbound flights

As far as inbound flights are concerned, airlines are allowed to carry stranded Indian nationals and foreigners (including diplomats and OCI card holders) which are eligible to enter India as per Ministry of Home Affairs guidelines at the time of flying.

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© Airbus

 Policy for outbound flights

Both Indian carriers and foreign carriers can carry passengers in accordance with Ministry of Home Affairs guidelines. Detour and break journey are not permitted.

Likewise, stranded EU nationals/residents, foreign nationals destined for travel in the EU and transiting through France and Germany and accompanying spouses are allowed for travel as well.

It is advised to refer to the following link before proceeding for booking: https://www.civilaviation.gov.in/en/about-air-transport-bubbles

What do you think about India allowing some flights again? Let us know in the comments below!

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