Unlock 5.0: Ban on International Flights Extended Till October 31, Air Bubbles to Continue
The Civil Aviation Ministry had on Wednesday said that international passengers who have to take connecting domestic flights after landing in India will have the option of getting themselves tested for COVID-19 at the entry airports. (Picture source: PTI)
In the recently released guidelines under the Unlock 5.0, government of India has announced to extend the ban on the international flights till October 31. The scheduled international flights to and from the country have been under suspension since March 23. Earlier, the overseas flights were suspended till September 30 under the Unlock 4.0 guidelines.
However, government will continue to operate international flights under the Air Bubble pact with various countries, including the US, UK, UAE and more. In total, government has an agreement with 13 different countries to ease the travel ban and allow free-flow of international flights from both the sides.
For countries where Air Bubble Agreement is not yet established, government is undertaking Vande Bharat Mission to repatriate stranded Indians.
Apart from international flights under Air Bubble pacts and Mission Vande Bharat, India is currently operating cargo flights and domestic flights facilitate travellers' and goods movement across the country. While the domestic flights were also under ban, government gradually reopened the domestic routes in a calibrated manner, allowing 35 percent capacity of actual schedule.
Currently, domestic flights are running at 60 percent capacity of the original schedule. As for the Air Bubble agreement, India had initially established travel bubbles with countries like the United States, Germany and France. Since then, India has formed agreements with 13 nations in total including countries like Canada, Maldives, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Japan and more.
Recently, Lufthansa, one of the Europe's largest air carrier and Germany's largest air carrier announced to cancel all flights to India starting till October 20 citing dispute with the centre. Lufthansa, in a statement said that Indian government has unexpectedly rejected the Lufthansa's flight schedule despite prior agreement under the air bubble pact.