India may allow international flights from February 1, 2021

GABRIELE PETRAUSKAITE
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The government of India considers mitigating measures against the spread of the COVID-19 virus and will likely allow international travel services from February 1, 2021.

Following the updated “Guidelines for Surveillance, Containment, and Caution”, the government of India may permit regular international air travel as a part of mitigation measures of COVID-19 related restrictions from February 1, 2021. According to the order, issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs of India on January 28, 2021, before finalizing a decision regarding the resumption of international flights, the Ministry of Civil Aviation would consult with the Ministry of Home Affairs.

"For further opening up of international air travel of passengers, the Ministry of Civil Aviation may take a decision in consultation with the Ministry of Home Affairs based on the assessment of the situation," read the press release.

Under the new guidelines which will take effect from February 1, 2021, all activities will be permitted outside “containment zones”, the specific areas with a high level of the virus spread. The Ministry of Home Affairs outlined that the new guidelines are mainly focused on the consolidation of the “substantial gains” that have been achieved against the spread of COVID-19 in the country. The Ministry also said that “the steady decline” in the number of active and new cases in the country is already visible over “the last four months.”

India temporarily banned all international flights as well as domestic operations in March 2020. Flights to and from India since then have been resumed partly under temporary “air bubble“ agreements.

According to data from the Ministry of Civil Aviation, India has valid “air bubble” agreements with Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Canada, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Iraq, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Maldives, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Rwanda, Tanzania, Ukraine, the UAE, the UK, and the US.

India may allow international flights from February 1, 2021