International flights can recommence through bilateral air bubbles between countries till the situation returns to normal routine, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Thursday.
India has established individual bilateral bubbles with France, Germany and the US that will allow airlines of each country in the pact to operate international flights, said the Civil Aviation Ministry on Thursday. A similar arrangement with the UK will soon be permitted, it added.
From India, Air India will be operating flights to France, Germany and the US under these bubbles. An air bubble is a bilateral arrangement with a set of regulations and restrictions in which the carriers of the two countries can operate international flights.
The concept of air bridges is based on mutuality with the said countries allowing Indian citizens to fly into their borders and India allowing their citizens to fly into its borders.
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.
India had deferred all international flights in March before it imposed a nationwide lockdown to check the spread of coronavirus. It, however, has been operating special flights under the Vande Bharat Mission to deport Indian citizens stuck across various countries.