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India To Resume Flights With USA And France Under Bilateral Air Bubbles

International flights to other countries may resume under bilateral air bubbles, under certain conditions, as many are still imposing entry restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, said Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri in a press. 

“Till international civil aviation can reclaim its pre-COVID numbers, I think the answer will lie through bilateral air bubbles, which will carry a possible number of people but under defined conditions as countries are still imposing entry restrictions including India,” Puri said. He also indicated that resuming flights with at least three more countries during the bilateral situation.

International flights will resume in a phase-wise manner 

A travel bubble or a bilateral air bubble is a travel corridor between two countries that want to re-open their borders and re-establish connections with each other. This is an exclusive partnership considered between countries that have either largely eliminated the virus, or trust the testing numbers. The Ministry of Home Affairs mentioned that international flights will resume in a phased manner during ‘Unlock 2.0’. Puri also said that India’s Vande Bharat Mission has evacuated more than 6,80,000 Indians stranded abroad due to coronavirus pandemic till 15 July. As of 13 July, Air India and Air India Express operated 1,103 flights, flying back 2,08,000 Indians under the mission. 

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He said that over 80,000 people have also flown out of the country since the outbreak of the pandemic. This is the fourth phase of the mission, and the first phase of the mission started on 7 May. Moreover, there were a total of 1,633 flight movements in the country, with the total number of flyers being 68,804. There have been 816 departures and 817 arrivals. Puri also said there might extend the airfare cap on domestic flights beyond 24 August due to less demand. Commercial flights were suspended on March 25 after the lockdown to contain the spread of the COVID-19. Domestic flights in the country resumed operations from May 25.

All scheduled commercial passenger flights were suspended in India on March 25 after the Central government imposed a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of Covid-19. 

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