How to Use ‘Air Bubbles’ To Travel Abroad? Rules, Destinations & Flight Bookings

After almost four months, the Indian government has decided to restart international air travel.

Civil Aviation Minister, Hardeep Singh Puri tweeted:

Under this arrangement airlines from the concerned countries will be able to operate flights from & to India along with Indian carriers. I have no doubt these will be beneficial for our citizens who are stressed & distressed abroad or those who want to fly out.

— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) July 16, 2020

What is an air bubble?

• An air bubble is a bilateral agreement between two countries wherein a travel corridor is re-established.
• As of now, India has signed agreements with the US, France, UAE, and Germany.
• The decision will bring relief to passengers who wish to travel and have been unable to do so.
• It is a way for countries to reopen borders and control the number of passengers coming into their country

Things to know

Ready to fly?

• Air France will operate 28 flights between Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Paris from 18 July to 1 August
• United Airlines will operate 18 flights between Delhi, Mumbai, Newark and San Francisco until 31 July
• On the cards are two flights a day between Delhi and London
• The government is also planning a similar travel arrangement between UAE and India between 12 July to 26 August
• Fares for these flights are likely to be capped
• Rules, regulations, and schedules for these flights are subject to change
• It is an interim measure until regular flight schedules can be operative

Mark Martin, founder and CEO of aviation consulting firm Martin consulting, in this report says, “We welcome what the Aviation Minister is doing in terms of trying to bring some normalcy back to international flight operations; however, it will depend largely on the countries that accept Indian passengers. What will happen if a person who lands there tests positive, he or she will be sent back? While it is a progressive move, I don’t think we will see any holiday-makers taking flights for tourism given the restrictions on hotels, restaurants etc.”

Who can travel now?

• Diplomats, Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) cardholders, and Indian citizens can now fly in and out of the countries with whom there is an agreement
• The quarantine and medical check requirements differ from country to country; therefore, check individual regulations before making your bookings.

As mentioned at the start, these are evolving and dynamic rules. Therefore, ensure that you verify the procedure before making your bookings. You can click here to access the Aviation Ministry portal.

(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)

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