International flights to return to normal by year end: Civil aviation secretary
Indians are currently flying under bilateral air bubble arrangements that allow passengers of two countries to fly with restrictions in place
International flights are expected to return to normal by the end of the year, India’s civil aviation secretary Rajiv Bansal said on Wednesday.
“Normalisation of international operations is expected to resume by the end of the calendar year,” Bansal said.
All international passenger flights to and from India were suspended in March 2020 due to Covid-19 pandemic.
Indians are currently flying under bilateral air bubble arrangements that allow passengers of two countries to fly with restrictions in place.
India has air bubble pacts with around 28 countries, including the US, Britain, the UAE, Kenya, Bhutan and France.
Minister of civil aviation Jyotiraditya Scindia last week said the ministry was evaluating the process of restarting international flights with passenger traffic returning towards normalcy.
“We want to resume international operations, but in a safe environment. Despite vaccinations [against Covid-19], countries such as Russia and parts of Europe are fighting the fourth wave of the pandemic. Hence, we cannot let our guard down,” Scindia had said last week.
On the domestic front, passenger traffic for flights in February 2020 - which was during pre-pandemic times - was around 400,000 per day. Bansal said the country has already started seeing daily passenger traffic of nearly 400,000 for domestic flights.
“The current daily domestic passengers are between 380,000 and 398,000. By April next year, we can say that we have arrived [at normal levels],” Bansal said.