The Center will resume regular international flights from December 15, except in 14 countries, people familiar with the development said on Friday. Nations not on the list are the United Kingdom, Germany, France, the Netherlands, South Africa, Finland, Brazil, Bangladesh, China, Botswana, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe and Singapore, the sources said.
The decision was made in discussion with the Ministry of Health in light of the Covid situation worldwide, particularly the emergence of new variants. On Thursday, South Africa fortified a new coronavirus variant that is believed to be more transmissible and elusive to vaccines. The variant has been recorded in Botswana and Hong Kong, in addition to South Africa. India will not resume regular international flight operations with Botswana and South Africa.
With some of the nations on the index, India has a travel bubble granting a certain number of flights a week, which will remain, officials revealed.
Regular world flight operations were suspended in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The civil aviation ministry began Vande Bharat flyings to transport Indians who were trapped in other nations throughout the pandemic. Following the Vande Bharat flights, the ministry started into air bubble arrangements with some countries that allow international travel.
With the number of Covid cases steadily declining and vaccine coverage in the country increasing, the Center was considering easing restrictions regarding international travel. Two days ago, the secretary of civil aviation, Rajiv Bansal, said that the ministry is working to allow international passenger flights from the end of the year.
Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia recently expressed the ministry’s interest in resuming normal international travel operations. “We are evaluating the process. We are back to normal. First, we allow 100% passenger capacity on our domestic flights and now we allow in-flight meals on those flights,” Scindia said at an industry summit.