International flights to/from India were suspended in March 2020, when Covid-19 cases started to pop up globally. Since then, the Government of India has extended the suspension, usually every month. In December 2021, there was the first announcement to resume scheduled International flights, however, this was pulled back in the wake of Omicron. In the midst, the government of India decided to go on and sign air bubbles with various countries where Indians could fly to these countries, but not use Indian or their airlines to transit. Now, a new date has been set for a full resumption of International operations.
International flights from India to reopen on March 27, 2022
After being suspended for 2 years in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, India is all set to resume scheduled international flights from March 27, 2022. While the complete order from the Indian regulator is still awaited, a press release has been issued by the Government of India. It reads as follows:
In order to prevent spread of Covid-19, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had suspended operations of scheduled international commercial passenger services to/from India with effect from 23rd March 2020 vide circular dated 19.03.2020. Currently, in terms of DGCA’s circular 28.02.2022, suspension of scheduled international commercial passenger services to/from India has been extended till further orders.
After having recognized the increased vaccination coverage across the globe and in consultation with the stakeholders, the Government of India has decided to resume scheduled commercial international passenger services to/from India from 27.03.2022, i.e. start of Summer Schedule 2022. The suspension of scheduled commercial international passenger services to/from India, thus, stands extended only upto 2359 hrs IST on 26.03.2022 and air bubble arrangements shall accordingly be extended to this extent only.
The international operations shall be subject to strict adherence to the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare guidelines for international travel dated 10.02.2022 and as amended from time to time.
This would mean that all sorts of flights will open up, including the ability to transit using the Middle-East or European ports to fly to the Americas or Singapore to fly to Japan, etc. This should also mean fares might go down, given capacity will be expanded. Will all airlines return on Day 1, not really? They will also be subjected to their own country’s closures, but do expect many to start resuming flights into India in the coming weeks.
Here is the DGCA order on this matter. It clearly states that the Air Bubbles will be closed, and the full international capacities will be made available to airlines on both sides.
On this occasion Mr Ronojoy Dutta, Whole Time Director and Chief Executive Officer, IndiGo, said,
We welcome the government’s decision to allow the resumption of scheduled commercial international flight operations from India. This step will provide impetus to the economic recovery for the sector and the nation, with borders opening for tourists. We look forward to connecting our customers to the people and places they love. We will soon be announcing the schedule for our international destinations, in accordance with these new guidelines.
IATA’s India Country Director, Mr Amitabh Khosla, said,
We welcome the announcement by the Government of India to normalize international scheduled air services from 27 March 2022. This will support the recovery of the aviation and travel sectors, the economy as a whole, and satisfy the demand for air travel.
As a next step, we urge the government to consider extending the relaxation in rules for international travel, to passengers from all remaining countries as well. This will allow India to maximize the benefits that aviation can bring to the economy.
India will resume full international flights as of March 27, 2022, at the start of the Northern Summer Schedule for 2022. This should make it cheaper and easier for Indians to fly out and for tourists and other visitors to visit India.
What do you think of the new decision to open up scheduled International flights?
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