Regular international flights might restart from the summer or first-half of 2021. But it will depend a lot upon the number of people vaccinated all around the globe. A senior government official told The Economic Times that within three to four months, a large number of people are expected to be vaccinated. It will remove the need for COVID-19 testing for them along with quarantine measures which will bring normalcy to flying. If international flights restart, it will be a huge relief for the stressed travel and tourism sector globally — more details on the story ahead.
International Flights Suspended Until February 28, 2021
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) issued a circular yesterday communicating that the international flights will remain suspended until February 28, 2021. However, all the cargo flights and internal flights under air bubble agreements with other nations will keep operating.
India already has air bubble agreements with many nations. If the nations could come to an agreement depending on the number of people vaccinated, international travel might start from this summer.
Ronojoy Dutta, CEO of IndiGo, recently said that the government is looking to resume short-haul international flights from the May or June period this year. He further said that gradually, regular international travel to all the nations would be resumed.
India banned all flight operations (domestic and international) on March 23, 2020, as a protective measure to stop the virus from spreading. After two months, domestic flights were resumed but international flights didn’t stand a chance because of the rising number of COVID-19 cases worldwide.
However, the governments soon started forming air bubble agreements which gave specific airlines of the country the permission to operate a select number of flights in permitted international routes for helping people return to their countries.
Since the vaccination drive has started in India and other countries, things are expected to gain normalcy again. Some countries have already started removing international travel restrictions. If a high percentage of people can be vaccinated soon, International travel to and from India will start as well.