India plans air bubbles with five neighbours, Pakistan not among them

Air bubbles seek to restore commercial passenger services to pre-pandemic levels. Pakistan is not on the list of five countries.
An Indian security officer stands guard during a graduation parade at the Air Force Academy in Dundigal, on the outskirts of Hyderabad, India.(AP)
An Indian security officer stands guard during a graduation parade at the Air Force Academy in Dundigal, on the outskirts of Hyderabad, India.(AP)
Updated on Aug 18, 2020 05:43 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByHT Correspondent

With international air travel still out of bounds due to the Covid-19 pandemic, India has proposed air bubbles with five neighbouring countries, civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri said Tuesday.

Air bubbles seek to restore commercial passenger services to pre-pandemic levels. Pakistan is not on the list of five countries.

“Air bubbles have also been proposed with our neighbours Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal & Bhutan. Going forward, we will consider such arrangements with other countries also. It is always our endeavour to reach out to every stranded citizen. No Indian will be left behind,” Puri tweeted.

India’s international flight operations are currently largely limited to evacuating its residents from various countries under the Vande Bharat mission (VBM).

Also read: SpiceJet operates charter flight on Delhi-Rome route with 264 Italians

“We continue to further strengthen the reach & scope of VBM. Air Travel arrangements are already in place with USA, UK, France, Germany, UAE, Qatar & Maldives. We are now taking these efforts forward & are negotiating with 13 more countries to establish such arrangements.”

“These include Australia, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Nigeria, Bahrain, Israel, Kenya, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea & Thailand,” he said in another tweet.

The latest air bubble was the one with Canada that became operational on August 15.

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