UPDATE (2nd December 2021): The government of India and Directorate General of Civil Aviation has announced that it may not go ahead as planned to resume regular international flights amid the concern of the new Omicron Variant of COVID-19. The Indian government will announce a new date in due course.
The Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation has today announced that India will resume regular international flights from 15th December 2021, barring 14 countries.
The decision to resume regular international flights has been taken in consultation with the health ministry in light of the COVID situation across the world, especially the emergence of new variants. Just yesterday, South Africa confirmed a new variant of Coronavirus which is believed to be more transmissible and vaccine-evasive. The variant has been reported in Botswana and Hong Kong as well apart from South Africa. Due to this reason, India has decided not to resume regular international flights from Botswana and South Africa. In addition to these two countries, India will not resume regular international flights with the following countries:
- United Kingdom
- New Zealand
- Hong Kong
The Aviation Ministry of India said:
Resumption of scheduled commercial international passenger services, to and from India, has been examined in consultation with Ministry of Home Affairs, External Affairs and Health, and it has been decided… may be resumed from December 15.
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The Aviation Ministry said 14 countries designated by the Health Ministry as ‘at risk’, and with whom there is an existing ‘air bubble’ agreement, would be allowed to resume 75% of pre-Covid operations (or a minimum of seven frequencies per week).
The Aviation Ministry said that those countries which are designated as ‘at risk’ but without ‘air bubble’ agreements with India would be allowed to resume 50% of bilateral capacity entitlements.
Scheduled international passenger flights between India and other countries can return to normal.
Scheduled international flights – except repatriation services and flights carrying essential goods – were suspended in March 2020. But now with the vaccination rate in India going up and cases decreasing, the government of India has taken the decision to resume regular international flights.
What do you think of India’s decision to resume regular international flights? Let me know in the comments section below.