India to resume scheduled international flights from Dec 15: Govt

India to resume scheduled from December 15 after coronavirus-induced suspension, said Aviation Ministry on Friday.

In an order, the Civil Aviation Ministry stated: “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.”

Based on the countries recognised as ‘at-risk’ by Union Health Ministry, the countries have been categorised into three categories with separate capacity restrictions, said Aviation Ministry.

Meanwhile, an Economic Times report on Friday said have been allowed from all countries barring 14 countries, including UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Finland, South Africa, Brazil, China, Mauritius, New Zealand and Singapore.

Scheduled international passenger to and from India were suspended since March 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic. The suspension had been extended till November 30, 2021. However, special international passenger flights have been operating since July last year under air bubble arrangements formed with approximately 28 countries.

Government’s decision comes close on the heels of Civil Aviation Secretary Rajiv Bansal saying international passenger flight services are expected to be normalised “very soon” and possibly by the end of this year.

Normalisation of is expected “very soon” and by the end of this year, Bansal said on Wednesday.

Currently, India has air bubble arrangements with more than 25 countries for operating Under an air bubble arrangement between two countries, international passenger flights can be operated by their respective carriers into each other’s territories subject to certain conditions.

Last week, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said the government was evaluating the process for normalising international operations and asserted that it wants to return to normalcy while keeping in mind the coronavirus pandemic situation in certain parts of the world.

“I am all for regaining our space in the civil aviation arena in the world and making a hub in India and for more wide body aircraft. We will get there but bear with me and trust me, I am on your side. We will work together but in a safe environment,” he had said.

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