International flights to US, France resume in India

In a press briefing yesterday, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said overseas flights will recommence as per bilateral air bubbles with different nations with specific conditions as many countries still have entry restrictions in place, even India owing to the mass destruction caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

As indicated by Puri, while United Air will start operating 18 of its flights between Delhi, Mumbai to Newark till 31 July, Air France will also start 28 trips between Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore to Paris resuming from July 18 till August 1. The aviation minister additionally alluded to the recommencement of overseas flights with a minimum of three additional nations following the bilateral bubble rules. The flights will start operating from tomorrow. 

“We are making headway with three nations but it is still a work-in-progress. For instance, Air France will start 28 trips between Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Paris from 18 July to 1 August while the US’ United Air will also be piloting 18 trips between July 17-31, yet this is an interim decision. We have even talked to German carriers to allow trips to India and we are preparing for the same,” Puri said. 

Reporting the recommencement of overseas commercial flights, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Thursday said India had set up individual bilateral air bridges with France and the US that would permit aircrafts of these nations to run flights. Puri said air bubbles or air bridges are the best approaches to recommence global air travel in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

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“Till global civil aviation can recover its pre-COVID numbers, I figure the appropriate response will lie through reciprocal air bubbles which will fly a potential number of individuals however under characterized conditions as nations are as yet imposing passage limitations including India,” he said. 

A bilateral air bubble or a travel bubble sets up a travel corridor between two nations that desire to revive and reconnect their borders and restore associations with one another. This is a selective association to be carried out between nations that have either to a great extent dispensed away with the infection or trust their testing numbers. The idea of air bubbles depends on reciprocity and exclusive partnership within the said nations permitting Indian residents to fly into their borders and India permitting their residents to fly into its fringes. 

Tending to a press meeting, Puri said American carrier United Airlines is preparing to fly 18 trips between India and the US from July 17 to July 31. From 18 July to 1 August, Air France will run 28 trips between Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Paris. 

“They(United) will fly a regular flight from Delhi to Newark daily, and the journey from Delhi to San Francisco will be conducted thrice a week,” he said.

The minister went on to add that India was looking to set up an air bridge with the UK soon, under which two flights would be flown from Delhi to London each day. He also specified that the Indian government has received a request to allow German carriers to fly into India and that they’re looking into it. 

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From India, Air India will be the one running flights to France and the US as per these air bridges. Since March 23 due to the coronavirus pandemic, scheduled overseas passenger flights had been disbanded. 

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had on July 3 expanded the restriction on worldwide trips until July 31 after it had already been suspended till July 15. As per senior government authorities, the boycott was expanded in light of the fact that the government felt it would require some major time investment for India to get ready before it could continue scheduled global operations. 

Prior to this, the Ministry of Home Affairs had said the overseas passenger flight operations in the nation will continue in a phased way during ‘Unlock 2.0’. 

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had hinted earlier that “worldwide scheduled flights might be permitted on chosen courses on a case-to-case premise.” 

Then again, India’s Vande Bharat Mission has ferried back over 6,80,000 Indians stuck overseas owing to the coronavirus pandemic till Wednesday, Puri said today.

“Till 15th of July, 23:59 hours,  a grand total of 6,87,467 travelers have been ferried back under the strategic mission,” he said. 

As on July 13, Air India and Air India Express ran a total of 1103 flights evacuating 2,08,000 Indians under Vande Bharat Mission who were stranded abroad. 

According to Air India CMD, Rajiv Bansal,

“We brought back 85289 travelers to different parts of the globe on a substantial percentage of those flights.”

He said since the pandemic flare-up, upwards of 80,000 people have consequently flown out of the nation. This is the fourth stage of the plan, with its primary phase beginning on 7 May. 

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Puri additionally said that by Diwali this year, in any event, 55-60 percent of pre-COVID domestic operations will be flying in India. Besides, on Tuesday, an aggregate of 68,804 travelers flew domestic trips until 23:59 hours. There was a sum of 1,633 flight developments in the nation. Footfalls at air terminals were 1,36,099 and the complete number of flyers was 68,804. There have been 816 takeoffs and 817 arrivals. 

Puri additionally stated, there may be a short augmentation on the airfare cap on local trips past 24 August because of lesser demand. 

Starting May 25, domestic passenger flight services recommenced in the nation, two months after the declaration of the lockdown and suspension of all scheduled commercial passenger trips in India. 

All scheduled commercial passenger trips were shut down in India on March 25 after the Central government put across the nation a complete lockdown to curb the transmission of Covid-19. Local operations in the nation resumed from May 25. 

A few nations that have just set up these travel bubbles or air bridges have done as such based on their view of the capacity of the arrival country to deal with the Covid19 pandemic. 

For instance, New Zealand, which had maintained to contain the sickness a while ago, was setting up a trans-Tasmanian air bubble with different nations that had dealt with the infection spread. The three Baltic countries of Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia had additionally set up an air bubble amongst themselves.

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