International Flights From India To USA Starts Today After 4 Months Via Air Bubbles
India has already established individual bilateral ‘air bubbles’ with France, Germany, UAE among other countries. On July 9, India had announced an air bubble with the UAE that would be in place from July 12 to 26.
Now the US will allow airlines of each country in the pact to operate international flights, the civil aviation ministry said yesterday in a press conference. The international flights from India to US will start operation from July 17.
Read on to find out more…
What Are Air Bubbles?
First of all let’s clear the confusing air around ‘air bubbles’!
Scheduled international passenger flights have been suspended in India since March 23 meaning for nearly 4 months now due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri has indicated that India was at a ‘very advanced stage of negotiations’ with the US, France and Germany to set up ‘travel bubbles’ or ‘air bubbles’. He further clarified that air bubbles are ‘a stage short of normal civil aviation activities’.
Bilateral ‘air bubbles’ or air corridors is an arrangement between countries to control from which country the travellers come from. This arrangement depends on 2 crucial factors: the COVID-19 status and control in both countries and their dependence on each other, commercially and culturally. Obviously demand by default also plays an important role.
Who can Travel By These Indian Air Bubbles?
The access to travel internationally won’t be for everyone.
It is expected to be restricted to citizens of the destination country, or those with special residency status. For example, only Indian nationals or Overseas Citizens of India may be allowed on a plane to Delhi. Indian students with a temporary residence in Europe and currently in India won’t be allowed to travel to Europe by these travel bubbles.
However, the fares will be capped and are likely to come down.
The only change from the repatriation operation is that a varied option citing airlines is available for the travellers to choose from.
However, in these unprecedented COVID-19 times,the rules and schedules regarding air travel are dynamic and will likely to change over the next few weeks.
Hardeep Singh Puri said in tweet. “Under this arrangement airlines from the concerned countries will be able to operate flights from & to India along with Indian carriers. I have no doubt these will be beneficial for our citizens who are stressed & distressed abroad or those who want to fly out.”
India-US Air Bubble
The United Airlines will be flying 18 flights between India and the US from July 17 to July 31.
Puri said, “They (United) are flying a daily flight between Delhi and Newark and a thrice-a-week flight between Delhi and San Francisco.”
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.”
Other Air Bubbles And Air Bubbles Coming Up!
Under the India-France air bubble, Air France will be operating 28 flights between Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Paris from July 18 to August 1.
India is in talks to establish an air bubble with the UK soon under which there would be 2 flights per day between Delhi and London.
Puri said, “We have got a request from Germans also. I think the arrangement with Lufthansa is almost done…We are processing that request.” Germany will soon be under the air bubble pact soon!
The bilateral air bubble with UAE was permitted on July 9 under specific terms and conditions. The Civil Aviation ministry had said that charter flights operated by the UAE carriers have been permitted to bring Indian citizens from the UAE and carry ‘ICA-approved UAE residents’ when returning to UAE.
Hardeep Singh Puri on July 16 said that till the international civil aviation can reclaim its pre-COVID numbers, the answer lies in flying through bilateral air bubbles which will carry a possible number of people but under defined conditions as countries, including India, are still imposing entry restrictions.
In other words, normal international air travel ain’t starting soon folks!
We will keep you updated…