Clearing the fog of uncertainty regarding the resumption of international flights, the Union Civil Aviation Ministry has announced the establishment of individual bilateral air bubbles with the US and France. Under this agreement, the airlines of the respective countries can operate international flights starting today.
Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri tweeted, “In an initiative to further expand our international civil aviation operations, air bubble arrangements with US, UAE, France & Germany are being put in place while similar arrangements are also being worked out with several other countries.”
In the matter of air bubbles or air bridges, Hardeep Singh Puri said, “till international civil aviation can reclaim its pre-COVID numbers, I think the answer will lie through bilateral air bubbles which will carry a possible number of people but under defined conditions as countries are still imposing entry restrictions including India.”
It has been more than 100 days since India suspended scheduled international passenger flights on March 23 amid the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic, and this decision to recommence international flights comes as a breath of fresh air for all those people wishing to book flights from the US to India.
United Airlines, the major American carrier, will operate 18 flights between India and the US from today to July 31. “They (United Airlines) are flying a daily flight between Delhi and Newark and a thrice-a-week flight between Delhi and San Francisco,” Hardeep Singh Puri said.
Air France is going to operate 28 flights between Paris and the Indian states of Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru from 18 July to 1 August. Air India, India’s flag carrier, will run international flights from India to France, Germany, and the US.
The civil aviation minister also revealed that the discussions with Lufthansa are in progress to set up similar travel bubbles with Germany. India is also looking forward to establishing air bubbles with the UK, under which two flights per day would be arranged between Delhi and London.