The Centre on Wednesday extended the suspension of regular international passenger flights till October 31 and will operate these flights in air bubbles and under the Vande Bharat scheme. Though a number of activities have resumed in the country in a phased manner, regular international flights are one of those which are still restricted. The restriction also owes to the embargos other countries have in place to check the number of Covid-19 infections, apart from India’s Covid-19 figures. the However, a number of things effectively changes from today.
16 international destinations
Indians can now fly to 16 destinations as new air bubbles have been signed. The list of the countries include Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bhutan, Canada, France, Germany, Iraq, Japan, Kenya, the Maldives, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, the UAE, the UK, the US. Travel agreements with Oman and Kenya have been finalised in the last few days. These agreements are the only window that is currently allowing international travel. Under these agreements, airlines of both the countries can carry passengers.
No flights to Germany till October 20
However, a fall out with Germany early this week has put passengers in a quandary. Lufthansa has cancelled all its flights till October as India has rejected its October schedule where Germany is flying more flights to India but the number of Indian airlines entering Germany is restricted. Negotiations are going on in this regard.
Vande Bharat Mission flights
The repatriation flights, on the other hand, are still on. Vande Bharat Mission was initiated in the first week of May to repatriate Indians stuck abroad owing to the Covid-19 lockdown. More destinations are being added to Vande Bharat flights. Air India Express will start direct flights from Mangalore to Dubai in October.
As the Centre has allowed the airlines to reverted to their pre-Covid baggage rules, this month flyers will be able to carry more luggage. “Air India is glad to be able to offer its unparalleled maximum baggage allowance again! 35 kgs for Business Class; 25 kgs for Economy Class! Leave your weight of worries with us & enjoy your flight,” Air India has tweeted.