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Thursday, 01 October, 2020, 14 : 00 PM [IST]

While suspending international flights till Oct 31, DGCA signs Transport Bubble agreements with Bhutan & Kenya

Amid rising novel coronavirus cases in the country, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) today stated that suspension on scheduled international commercial passenger services to and from India has been extended till October 31.

The announcement came moments after the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) released a fresh set of guidelines under the Unlock 5 plan in which it mentioned that international air travel of passengers will not be permitted in the current phase of Unlock, except as permitted by MHA.

However, to allow gradual movement of passenger traffic, 'Transport Bubble' agreements have been signed with a number of countries.

Earlier today, the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has added more destinations, including Bhutan and Kenya, to the list of countries where Indians can fly. Air bubbles between India and Bhutan and India and Kenya have now become operational, with national carriers of all three nations aiming to restore commercial passenger services to pre-pandemic level.

India has similar air bubble arrangements in place with the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bhutan, Kenya, Canada, Iraq, Japan, Maldives, Nigeria, Qatar, and UAE.

On Wednesday, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri tweeted, “In order to further boost bilateral international air connectivity Air Bubble arrangements are now in place with Kenya and Bhutan. Indian carriers will be able to operate to these countries. Carriers of these countries will be able to fly to India."

Scheduled international passenger flights continue to remain suspended in India since March 23 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

After a gap of two months due to the coronavirus-triggered lockdown, India resumed domestic passenger flights on May 25.

However, average occupancy rate in Indian domestic flights has been around just 50-60 per cent since May 25.

The circular said the suspension does not affect the operation of international all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved by the DGCA. (Source: Mint)

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