No Regular International Flights to India. Air Bubble Flights to Continue till March-April 2021

When will India resume normal international flights? It has been one of the most Googled search queries since India closed the airspace in March 2020. On several occasions, civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri said normal international passenger flights would be resumed when India’s domestic air connectivity would be restored to over 50% of its pre-COVID19 capacity. India was likely to reopen for normal civil flights on international routes by Diwali 2020, according to the civil aviation minister’s previous assumptions.

India normal international flights 2021, air bubble flights India 2021, US-India bubble travel

With Diwali being around the corner, and the phase 6 of Air India’s VBM flights going to be over this month end, speculations were rife that international airlines would be allowed to resume regular flights to and from India soon. However, waiting for resumption of regular international flights to India seems like ‘waiting for Godot’ (the phrase refers to a situation wherein people endlessly wait for something to happen). Leaving no room for further speculations, Mr. Puri said, on October 8, the future of normal international air travel depends on the availability of a vaccine. He added,

“It is difficult to say as there is no country which has completely opened its borders for all. It depends on the availability of a vaccine as countries will feel more confident once a vaccine is there”.

On being asked whether air bubble flights to and from India would be continued in 2021, he gave no definite answer. Any possibility of resuming normal international flights is subject to a periodical assessment of three issues, the civil aviation minister said. First, restoring domestic connectivity between bigger cities and smaller towns to the pre-pandemic level, “which we have already done,” said Mr. Puri on October 8. Second, the nature of the virus which is unpredictable. Third, international restrictions are yet to be lifted. “Every country wants their people to return, but for others there are plenty of restrictions,” he said.

While addressing a press briefing on October 8, Mr. Puri hinted that suspension of regular international flights is likely to continue until March-April 2021. Validating what he hinted at, Air India has announced its travel bubble schedule for Canada till March 2021. This is Air India’s first long schedule for one of its major international destinations.

“Under the air bubble travel arrangements, flights to and from India are being normalized through the gradual ease of entry restrictions and quarantine rules in India. India’s air bubble travel corridor with other countries will expand on more and more international routes until airlines are allowed to resume normal flights to and from India,” said the chief information officer of Indian Eagle, a leading air-ticketing organization and a trusted travel-booking partner of overseas Indians.

15 thoughts on “No Regular International Flights to India. Air Bubble Flights to Continue till March-April 2021

    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi Parminder! Could you be more specific about your query? FYI, foreign nationals can travel to India, except for tourism purpose.

      Reply
      • Som

        I am an ex-Indian citizen and current US citizen. I have a tourist visa to India. Can I use it to visit my family in India?

        Reply
        • indianeagle Post author

          Hello Somnath! Currently, e-visa and tourist visa to India are banned. you can apply for an emergency visa to India.

          Reply
  1. Sandeep

    I’m a permanent resident in USA my daughter is us citizen she is only 2 year she have a x-1 visa can she travel to India?

    Reply
    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi Sandeep! To the best of our knowledge, your daughter can visit India on an x-1 visa. Please be advised to check with the Indian consulate/Embassy for your satisfaction.

      Reply
  2. Rajesh

    I see that covid test results are mandatory for taking connecting flight from New Delhi while traveling from USA to Hyderabad through Air India. I have a 4 year old and 8 month old baby. Do we need covid tests for them as well or is there an age limit?

    Reply
    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi Rajesh! If you hold a single PNR for the entire itinerary, no COVID test is mandatory for taking the connecting flight from New Delhi. Having a negative COVID-19 test report makes an individual eligible for exemption from institutional quarantine. Please note you are already eligible for such exemption due to traveling with kids below 10 years of age. Please go through https://www.indianeagle.com/travelbeats/new-delhi-airport-institutional-quarantine/

      Reply
      • Rajesh

        Thanks for the reply. But in delhi airport website(https://www.newdelhiairport.in/covid19), I see this answer for a question (If I have an approved exemption from institutional quarantine can I take a connecting domestic flight?):
        “As per current government guidelines passengers exempted from institutional quarantine can travel by surface using personal mode of transport. Public transport including domestic flights are not allowed till 14 days of quarantine period is complete. Passengers with RT PCR negative certificate are allowed to take domestic connections.”

        I guess my itinerary will be single PNR as Air India ticket is to Hyderabad where immigration will happen as well. So, Delhi is just a transfer from flight AI 174 to AI 1126. I can get an exemption, but the answer above in the website says that I will not be allowed to domestic flight. Is that true?

        Reply
  3. Debanjan

    I need to travel to Kolkata from U.S. Can one visit from USA via Air-india non-stop flights to New-Delhi and travel onwards to Kolkata via a domestic Air-India flight , without the need for quarantine in New-Delhi. Of course I will need home quarantine at Kolkata.

    Reply
    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi Debanjan! Yes, you can travel on Air India. Some travelers not carrying a pre-approved Rt-PCR test report from the USA have reported facing quarantine issues at Delhi. Either take travel with a pre-approved RT-PCR negative test report or have an itinerary with domestic connection time as long as 6-7 hours so that you can take a test at Delhi airport and continue your travel to Kolkata in case the result is negative. Please be advised to check the latest information in our dedicated Travel News section.

      Reply
  4. cc

    I have a business invitation letter to visit Delhi for meetings in December.
    Is Embassy issuing new business visas to US Citizens as part of revised guidelines dated 10/22/2020 ? Thank you.

    Reply
    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi Chirag! If your business visa to India has expired, you need to apply for a new one.

      Reply
  5. Aniruddh Chavda

    Hello IndianEagle , Could you please confirm if flights from Ahmedabad -> Doha -> Dallas by Qatar Airways have resumed for Student Visa holders ? I am planning to book a flight for 28th December.

    Reply

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