International flights to resume from July 17 through ‘Air Bubble’
New Delhi, Jul 16 : A limited number of international passenger flights will start operating through ‘air bubble’ with select countries — from July 17 for the US and July 18 for France, the government said on Thursday.
In a press conference here, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said America’s Delta Airlines will operate flights from Delhi to Newark and San Francisco on July 17 to 31.
There will be daily flights to Newark while there will be three flights a week to San Francisco.
Similarly, agreements have been signed with Air France for flights from Paris to Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.
The airline will operate 28 flights from these Indian cities to Paris between July 18 and August 1.
Negotiations with German airlines Lufthansa are also in the advanced stage, the minister said.
He said that on behalf of India, the state-run Air India will fly under the ‘air bubble’ and hoped that in the coming times, private airlines will also show interest in this.
Mr Puri clarified that these would not be regular international flights and that regular flights are unlikely to start at the moment.
He said, “My guess is that international flights will operate under air bubble for some time, which will be replaced by regular service later. I do not know when the regular international flights will start. ”
Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola said that international flights are currently being launched within the limits of the rules and health procedures of the ‘bubble’, hence the name ‘air bubble’.
He said there are three important things in this — There should be a demand for travel between the two countries, the rules of the two countries allow the movement of each other’s passengers and the readiness for airline companies to operate flights.
Air travel ‘bubbles’ , on the lines of ‘air bridges’ or ‘Covid-safe travel zones’ have been conceptualised by countries that have managed to fully or partially contain the Covid-19 outbreak. They are formed by countries which have largely eliminated the virus, and trust in each other’s testing and case numbers.