Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has extended the ban on scheduled international passenger flights till November 30. “However, the international scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes by the competent authority on a case-to-case basis,” DGCA said in a circular. So, this means that those planning to travel abroad from India or vice-versa will have to depend on the special flights under the Vande Bharat Mission, or the air bubble arrangements that India has so far established with some countries.
International travel possible through air bubble pact
Those wanting to travel internationally will have to depend on air bubble arrangements. Under an air bubble pact between two countries, special international flights can be operated by their airlines between their territories. As of now, India air bubble pacts with around 19 countries. These are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Bhutan, Canada, France, Germany, Iraq, Japan, Kenya, Maldives, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, the UAE, the UK, Ukraine and the US.
Who is allowed to travel in and out of India?
The government has decided to make a graded relaxation in visa and travel restrictions for more categories of foreign nationals and Indian nationals who wish to enter or leave India. Under this graded relaxation, the government has decided to restore with immediate effect all existing visas, except electronic visa, tourist visa and medical visa. If the validity of such visas has expired, fresh visas of appropriate categories can be obtained from Indian mission or post concerned.
Special flights operating under Vande Bharat Mission
India has been operating special international flights under the Vande Bharat Mission since May. The scheduled international passenger services have been suspended in India since March 23 due to the coronavirus pandemic.