The Centre on Friday extended the ban on international commercial flights till August 31. The ban, however, will not be applicable to international cargo operations.
Centre has also clarified that the ban will also not be applicable on special flights approved by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.
A statement by the Ministry of Civil Aviation provides: “The government has decided to extend the suspension on the Scheduled International Commercial Passenger Services to/from India up to 2359 hours IST of 31st August.”
Transport bubble agreements signed with US, France & Germany
‘Transport Bubble’ agreements have been signed with the United States, France and Germany. Air France and United Airlines of the US will operate a limited number of international flights under the “air bubble” arrangements with India. The agreements have been signed to allow gradual movement of passenger traffic during the COVID-19 health crisis.
Agreement also signed with Kuwait
India has also signed a travel bubble agreement with Kuwait to evacuate stranded passengers both to and from India. The aviation ministry said it is working hard to ease passenger movements from different countries.
On July 16, the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) announced setting up ‘air bubbles’. It partially resumed international flights to destinations in the US, Germany, France. On July 9, India had announced an air bubble with the United Arab Emirates that was in place from July 12 to 26.
What is a bilateral travel bubble?
A bilateral travel bubble refers to a travel corridor between two countries that wish to reopen their borders and re-establish connections with each other.
International flights suspended since March 23
International flights to and from India have been suspended since March 23 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Limited domestic flights have since resumed on certain sectors from May 25.
During the suspension period, more than 2,500 repatriation flights by foreign carriers were allowed to operate. They evacuated stranded nationals to and from India.
Over 7.5 lakh Indians brought back under Vande Bharat Mission
Under the Centre’s massive Vande Bharat Mission, national carrier Air India and its subsidiary Air India Express have evacuated 2,67,436 stranded passengers. Other flights have brought back 4,86,811 passengers between May 6 and July 30.
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