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India inks bilateral air bubbles with France, US; talks on with Germany: Civil Aviation Minister

July 16, 2020
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New Delhi: Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Thursday said India is in negotiations with three countries to establish ‘Air Bubble’ arrangements for allowing flight services under pre-conditions.

In aviation parlance, ‘Air Bubble’ travel arrangements are established between two countries under a certain set of safety and passenger travelling conditions such as high demand, legal entry and exit norms and airlines’ willingness to operate on these sectors.

Puri said that India has allowed Air France to operate 28 flights to Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai from July 18 to August 1, while US-based United Airlines has been allowed to operate 18 flights between July 17-31, and negotiations are on with Germany regarding operations of Lufthansa flights to India.

At present, the civil aviation authorities of India and the UAE have agreed to allow operations of special repatriation flights between the two countries during July 12-26.

As per the arrangement, chartered flights operated by UAE carriers to fly out Indians from the UAE will be allowed to carry ICA (Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship) approved UAE residents to their native country on their return leg.

Further, Indian carriers operating repatriation flights to bring back Indians from the UAE will be allowed to carry the ICA-approved UAE residents on their onward journey from India to the Gulf country.

Currently, the suspension on scheduled commercial international flight operations to and from India have been extended till July 31.

In repatriation operations under the Vande Bharat Mission, Puri said that till July 15, 687,467 passengers have been brought back to India.

On domestic operations, the minister said that passenger traffic is still under 33 per cent of capacity which comes to 100,000 passengers per day.

However, he exuded optimism that this number might rise to 55-60 per cent by November.(IANS)

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