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Govt Allows IndiGo, GoAir to Fly International Flights to Support Air India in Mission Vande Bharat

Passengers stand in queue at an airline ticket counter as domestic flights resume operations after nearly two-month lockdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Ahmedabad. (Image: AP)

Passengers stand in queue at an airline ticket counter as domestic flights resume operations after nearly two-month lockdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Ahmedabad. (Image: AP)

DGCA has extended the suspension of scheduled international passenger flights in the country till July 15.

Private airlines like IndiGo and GoAir will play a major role in the fourth phase of the Vande Bharat mission as government has allowed certain private air carriers to operate repatriation flight to Middle Eastern countries. In a tweet on Sunday evening, the Civil Aviation Ministry said, "Private Airlines will have significant participation in Phase-4 of VBM. Among others, IndiGo will operate 238 flights from Qatar & 219 flights from Kuwait; while GoAir will operate 41 flights from Kuwait. Number of pvt carriers, flights & destinations likely to increase."

Ministry of Civil Aviation has allowed IndiGo to operate 238 flights from Qatar & 219 flights from Kuwait; while GoAir will operate 41 flights from Kuwait. The fourth phase of mission will be activated between July 3 and July 15.

The government started the mega mission to evacuate stranded Indians from abroad on May 6. While Scheduled international passenger flights have been suspended in India since March 23 due to the coronavirus pandemic, Air India has been operating international flights to move passengers willing to travel on paid basis.

However, Air India has been solely operating flights to all the countries and the demand has been increasing particularly from the Middle Eastern countries, hence the government's decision to rope in private air carriers.

Under the fourth phase of the mission, Air India will operate 96 flights to India from 17 countries, Canada, the US, the UK, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Kyrgyzstan, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Thailand, South Africa, Russia, Australia, Myanmar, Japan, Ukraine and Vietnam.

Air India is scheduled to operate 272 chartered flights to and from various countries in the third phase, which began on June 10 and will end on July 4.

Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on June 20 said that the government will start thinking on resuming scheduled international passenger flights in mid-July, when it expects the domestic air traffic to reach 50-55 per cent of the levels before coronavirus.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said last Friday that it is extending the suspension of scheduled international passenger flights in the country till July 15, but added that some international scheduled services on selected routes may be permitted on a case-to-case basis.

With Inputs from PTI