India has signed bilateral agreements with France and the US that will allow airlines of each country to operate international flights from Friday, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Thursday, apart from that arrangements with Germany and the UK are being worked out too.
“Till international civil aviation can reclaim its pre-COVID numbers, I think the answer lies in bilateral air bubbles which will carry a possible number of people but under defined conditions as countries are still imposing entry restrictions including India,” the minister said at a news conference.
United Airlines , American Carrier will be flying 18 flights between India and the US from July 17 to July 31 and Air France will be operating 28 flights between Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Paris from July 18 to August 1, he said.
Minister in the Conference:
“They (United) are flying a daily flight between Delhi and Newark and a thrice-a-week flight between Delhi and San Francisco,” The minister said India is looking forward to having agreements with UK soon under which there would be two flights per day between Delhi and London. “We have got a request from Germans also. I think the arrangement with Lufthansa is almost done… We are processing that request,”
From India, Air India will be operating flights to France and US under these bubbles.
Scheduled international passenger flights have been suspended in India since March 23 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We are assuming that by the time Diwali comes this year, we would have 55-60 per cent of pre-COVID domestic flights operating in India,” Mr Puri said at the news conference.