NEW DELHI: The civil aviation ministry on Wednesday said international passenger flight services are expected to be normalised by the end of this year. Scheduled international passenger flights to and from India remain suspended since March 2020 amid the pandemic.
Aviation secretary Rajiv Bansal said normalisation of international flights is expected “very soon”. Currently, international flights are operated under the air bubble arrangement. India has this arrangement with more than 25 countries. Under an air bubble arrangement between two countries, international passenger flights can be operated by their respective carriers into each other’s territories subject to conditions.
Last week, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia had said the government was evaluating the process of normalising international operations and asserted that it wants normalcy to return while keeping in mind the Covid-19 situation in certain parts of the world. “I am all for regaining our space in the civil aviation arena in the world. We will work together but in a safe environment,” he had said.
The announcement came as a major relief to the aviation and tourism industry which have seen major losses due to Covid and continue to face woes considering the rise in cases in some parts of the world.
On Air India, Bansal said it is likely to be handed over to the Tata group by year end. “We are making efforts to hand over all operations of Air India by year end,” he said.