Scheduled international passenger flights have remained suspended in India since March 23 due to the pandemic.
International Flights Resumption Union civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri said air bubbles with some foreign countries are completed, while some others are at an advanced stage. “Unless the international civil aviation space reclaims its pre-covid space, air bubbles are the only answer to international flights,” the minister said in a press conference on Thursday.The services will carry a possible number of people but under defined conditions as countries are still imposing entry restrictions, including India,’ said aviation minister.Air France will be operating 28 flights between Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Paris from 18 July to 1 August.
“We will carry as many people as we can through these air bubbled. But it will not be free. There will be some checks and balances and the foreign countries are also imposing restrictions. So even if you have visa and all, special permission will be required,” he added.Agreements with many foreign countries have already been finalised while with some of the rest, the agreements are at an advanced stage.
“We are at a very advanced stage between with three countries and it is a work-in-progress. For example, Air France will be operating 28 flights between Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Paris from 18 July to 1 August while US will be flying 18 flights between July 17-31, but this is an interim one. We have request from German carriers to permit flights to India and we are processing it,” Puri said.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) earlier mentioned “international scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes on a case-to-case basis.”
On the other hand, India’s Vande Bharat Mission has evacuated more than 6,80,000 Indians stranded abroad due to coronavirus pandemic till Wednesday, Puri said today. “A total of 6,87,467 passengers have been evacuated under the mission till 15 July, 23:59 hours,” he said.