On Thursday, Minister of Civil Aviation, Harshdeep Singh Puri announced that there has an establishment of individual bilateral bubbles with France and US by India. This would allow airlines of these countries to operate flights. The air bubbles or air bridges will pave its way to the resumption of international travel during this COVID-19 pandemic.
“Till international civil aviation can reclaim its pre-COVID numbers, I think answer will lie through bilateral air bubbles which will carry a possible number of people but under defined conditions as countries are still imposing entry restrictions including India,” he said.Reportedly, the Minister said that the airline sector was reopened on May 25, two months and two days after the complete lockdown, serving 30000 passengers every day. On Diwali, the numbers jumped to 2.25lakh passengers.
Mr. Puri also added that now the civil aviation is operating at a 70% capacity in a calibrated manner and they will be approaching for 80% soon. The Minister said that by December 31, 2020, or by early January 2021, the airline industry would run full-fledged operations.
An air bridge, or travel corridor, is a reciprocal agreement between two countries that allows tourists to travel without restrictions. It would mean that UK holidaymakers could visit countries with low coronavirus infection rates without having to quarantine for 14 days when they return – and people in those countries can travel to the UK without having to quarantine on entry.
Addressing a press conference, Puri said Air France would be operating 28 flights between Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Paris from July 18 to August 1 while American carrier United Airlines would be flying 18 flights between India and the US from July 17 to July 31.
“They (United) are flying a daily flight between Delhi and Newark and a thrice-a-week flight between Delhi and San Francisco,” Puri said.