In March 2020, it became apparent that international flights in India will not operate anytime soon. Since then, Air India has been operating repatriation flights, and the Government of India has stitched up Air Bubbles with various countries. Non-stop flights are only permitted to these countries at the moment.
A new order was passed by the Government of India a few months ago as a part of their plan to open up the lockdown. The new order notified that international air travel opening up will be decided by the Ministry of Civil Aviation in consultation with India’s Ministry of Home Affairs.
This is a change in tonality and gave many people hoped that India would immediately open international flights. That did not happen, unfortunately. In October 2021, India also announced that it will start issuing Tourist Visas again. But…
International Flight India Ban
Currently, India has ‘Air Bubble’ Agreements with 27 nations and certain other Vande Bharat flights. I gather this to clarify to the other airlines operating in India how long they should not be planning operations in India. The terrible news is, the decision is postponed, and there is no final timeline for opening up Commercial international aviation, and it could go on longer.
The DGCA has now put up a notification further extending the ban till November 2021. The Air Bubble flights and Vande Bharat flights are excluded from this notification.
I have been continuously bemused at this notification coming out every month end like clockwork, which shows the lack of planning and foresight, or the humility to accept the situation as it is on the ground for now.
India has put behind the second wave already, and now we are seeing a respectable vaccination programme ongoing with over a billion doses already given to people in India. So… This beats me. Unless the air bubbles are the way of the future and devoiding people in coming to India or going out of India the opportunity to use carriers outside of India for one-stop flights is being stripped away from them.
India has once again extended its air travel ban by a month rather than by a longer timeframe. This means regular commercial air travel is off limits till November 30, 2021. On the other hand, many countries have now started to open up to vaccinated Indian travellers, but we don’t want their travellers coming in anytime soon. Foxes me.
What do you make of this International Flight India ban?
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