India has decided to resume scheduled commercial international flights from December 15, 2021, the Union Civil Aviation Ministry said in an official statement on Friday.
“The matter of resumption of scheduled commercial international passenger services to and from India has been examined in consultation with the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and it has been decided that scheduled commercial international passenger services to and from India may be resumed from December 15, 2021,” the Civil Aviation Ministry said in an order.
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The ministry also said based on the countries recognised as ‘at-risk’ by the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, the countries have been categorised into 3 with separate capacity restrictions.
A media report quoted sources as saying that the full resumption of international flights will take place barring 14 countries, but the existing air-bubble flight arrangements with these 14 countries will continue.
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India has formed air-bubble agreements with around 28 countries, including the US, the UK, the UAE, Kenya, Bhutan and France.
Under an air-bubble agreement between two countries, special international flights can be operated by their airlines between their territories with specific restrictions.
Scheduled international passenger flights to and from India have remained suspended since March last year amid the coronavirus pandemic.
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Currently, the suspension on scheduled international flights will continue till November 30, 2021.
According to the order, the seats under air bubble arrangement which have already been sold by airlines, which are in excess of the capacity entitlements under bilateral ASAs/traffic rights available with the airlines, will be allowed to be operated till December 14, 2021.
Such airlines will restrict their operations to capacity entitlements under bilateral ASAs/traffic rights available with the airlines, with effect from December 15, 2021.
All services shall be subject to strict adherence to Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare guidelines for international travel issued on November 11, 2021 as amended from time to time and instructions issued by the Ministry of Civil Aviation for international travel, the order added.
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