Monday, October 19, 2020

Which destinations can you fly to from India; which nations have imposed restrictions?

New Delhi: Indians can now fly to 18 countries, with the Ministry of Civil Aviation establishing “air bubble” arrangements with two more countries — Ukraine and Bangladesh — this week even though regular international flights remain banned as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, a number of jurisdictions and nations like Hong Kong and Germany have suspended flights with India over Covid-19 cases and schedules respectively. Special international flights have been operating under the Vande Bharat Mission since May and under bilateral air bubble pacts signed with various countries since July.

Aimed at restarting commercial passenger services, air bubbles are temporary reciprocal arrangements between two countries that allow international passenger flights to fly passengers either way without any restrictions. This helps in averting a host of quarantine and Covid-19 testing rules in arrival destinations. This type of arrangement is established between two countries that perceive each other to be safe.

It is different from repatriation flights, which are only one way and the passengers have to register themselves with the embassy to board such flights.

Currently, India has air bubble arrangements with 18 countries. These are the US, the UK, Germany, France, the UAE, Maldives, Canada, Japan, Bahrain, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Qatar, Iraq, Oman, Bhutan, Kenya, Bangladesh and Ukraine.

Bangladesh is set to resume flights to India from October 28. Under the air bubble arrangement, three Bangladeshi carriers – Biman Bangladeshi Airlines, US-Bangla Airlines and Novo Air – would initially operate 28 flights a week, while five Indian airlines — Air India, IndiGo, SpiceJet, Vistara and GoAir — would operate 28 flights a week between the two countries, The Daily Star reported. Initially, around 5,000 passengers from both the countries would be able to fly each week.

19/10/20 Abhishek De/Indian Express

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