During a press conference on 16th July, Union Civil Aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri said that India is in a very advanced stage of negotiations with at least three countries to start International flights via Air bubbles. He added, “Unless the international civil aviation space reclaims its pre-covid space, air bubbles are the only answer to international flights.” The three countries are France, the US and Germany.
The passengers will be able to travel to the selected destinations using these flights. The passengers have to go through several checks before leaving and after landing in India. The foreign countries are also imposing restrictions that the passengers have to follow. That means even if someone has a visa for a particular country, travel will not be permitted without additional permissions and paperwork.
What are air bubbles in terms of aviation?
Air bubbles or travel bubbles, also known as corona corridors, green corridors or travel corridors, are exclusive partnerships between two countries to allow air travel. These arrangements are only possible if both countries either have successfully contained the virus or have shown promising results while combating with the Covid-19 pandemic within their borders. India started considering these corridors in the month of June to resume air travel to other nations.
Multiple flights announced but with restrictions
The civil aviation minister said that the international flights could function with limited scope amid Covid-19 pandemic. The travel industry is at still since the pandemic started expanding its roots outside China. India suspended all international flights with the announcement of the first lockdown in March. Puri said that as a part of Unlock-2, India has decided to resume international flights. Air France is planning to operate 28 flights between Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Paris from 18th July to 1st August. The US will operate 18 flights between 17th July and 31st July. German carriers have sent a request to Indian Aviation Ministry which is still under process.
Under Vande Bharat Mission, more than 6,70,000 people have returned through various means and more than 85,000 have flown out since 6 May 2020, said Aviation Minister.