By Ashoke RajNew Delhi [India], November 26 (ANI): India will resume scheduled regular international flights from December 15, nearly 20 months after these flights were suspended to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had suspended operations of scheduled international commercial passenger services to and from India with effect from March 23, 2020, due to COVID-19.
"The matters of resumption of scheduled commercial international passenger services to/from India has been examined in consultation with the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) and it has been decided that scheduled commercial international passenger services to/from India may be resumed from 15.12.2021," the Ministry of Civil Aviation said in an order.
For the resumptions of flights, the countries have been categorised into three categories with separate capacity restrictions. The categorisation has been done based on the COVID-19 situation in the country.
Flights to and from the countries which have been identified by the Ministry of Health as not "at-risk" will have full capacity entitlements as per bilateral air service agreements.
Flights from countries identified to be "at-risk" and with whom air bubbles have been formalised, will have 75 per cent of pre-Covid operations of Indian and foreign carriers.
However, countries identified to be "at-risk" and with whom air bubbles have not been formalised, will have 50 per cent of bilateral capacity entitlements or 50 per cent of pre-COVID-19 operation of Indian or foreign carrier whichever is higher.
The ministry clarified that the resumption of commercial international passenger services would imply reversion to bilaterally agreed capacity entitlements and termination of bubble arrangements.
India has categorised 16 countries including some in Europe in "at-risk" category.
"The flights to these 16 countries will follow the guidelines related to air bubbles and under Vande Bharat mission (VBM)," a source told ANI.
The countries are UK, France, Germany, Netherlands, Finland, South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel.
India had embarked on Vande Bharat Mission to bring back its citizens stranded abroad due to travel restrictions imposed in the wake of COVID-19. It also signed air bubble arrangements with some countries. (ANI)