Starting July 23rd, the US air carriers will be able to resume services in the India-US market, the government of India has allowed, and the U.S. Transportation Department said on Friday.
India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation said on Twitter that to extend the civil aviation operations “air bubble arrangements with the US, UAE, France & Germany are being put in place, and that “similar arrangements are also being worked out with several other countries.”
“Under this arrangement airline from the concerned countries will be able to operate flights from & to India along with Indian carriers,” the Civil Aviation Ministry said, adding: “I have no doubt these will be beneficial for our citizens who are stressed & distressed abroad or those who want to fly out.”
The Indian government had banned charter flight operation between India-US market citing the coronavirus crisis, a move that was criticized by the United States Transport Department as “unfair and discriminatory practices” on charter air carriers serving in India, Reuters reports.
Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Thursday addressing the media said: “Till international civil aviation can reclaim its pre-COVID numbers, I think the answer will lie through bilateral air bubbles,” referring to the concept of an air bubble or ar bridge meaning a bilateral agreement between India and a said country to exchange passengers via flights.
Puri also gave some details of the international passenger flights starting:
- United Airlines (US) – will fly 18 flights between India and the US from 17th July to 31st July
- Air France (France) – will fly 28 flights between Paris and Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru from July 18 to August 1
The Civil Aviation Minister also said that the ministry is grappling with a request from German airlines to operate flights in India while the ministry is planning to establish an air bubble with the UK soon, Indian Express reports.
Indian national carrier Air India will be operating passenger flights between India and the US and France under the said bubbles. Puri told media that by Diwali this year, 50-60% of the pre-COVID domestic air traffic will be restored.
Air India has till date ferried more than 227K stranded Indians via the Vande Bharat Mission, along with more than 89K who have flown out.
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