Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Aviation & home ministries to decide on further opening of international passenger flights

New Delhi: The government has asked the aviation ministry to decide on “further opening up of international air travel of passengers” in consultation with the home ministry (MHA). The Covid guidelines issued by MHA on Wednesday that will be effective from February 1 has empowered aviation authorities to jointly take a call on this issue in consultation with it.

Schedule international flights were suspended on March 23, 2020, due to the pandemic. Since then, India has been allowed Vande Bharat Mission flights to many places and has formed air bubbles with over 20 countries.

International air travel is happening on both VBM and air bubble arrangements for allowed categories of travellers. Bubbles are being created with more countries like Russia and talks are on with Singapore. All-cargo international flights are allowed and the DGCA approves flights on a case-to-case basis.

Scheduled domestic flights were suspended for two months on March 25, 2020. They were allowed to resume on May 25, 2020, and at the moment airlines are allowed to deploy 80% of their pre-Covid levels of domestic operations. Air traffic within the skies (in terms of passengers) is back at 60% of pre-Covid level.

27/01/21 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

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