IndiGo CEO Ronojoy Dutta said it is not up to India to unilaterally open up scheduled international flights.(Representative Photo)
IndiGo CEO Ronojoy Dutta said it is not up to India to unilaterally open up scheduled international flights.(Representative Photo)

IndiGo CEO says restarting international flights impractical, explains why

The central government last month extended the suspension on international scheduled commercial flights till September 30 in the face of a looming threat of the third wave of infection.
By hindustantimes.com | Written by Amit Chaturvedi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON SEP 14, 2021 07:44 PM IST

The coronavirus disease (Covid-19) situation has been improving in India, with most of the states reporting a downward trend in daily cases. From the peak of the second wave in April-May, the cases have been brought under control and vaccination coverage increased. But despite this, many restrictions have still not been lifted.

This includes the ban on international flights. And the chief executive office (CEO) of low-cost carrier IndiGo feels that it would be impractical to restart scheduled international flights right now.

Ronojoy Dutta said on Tuesday that gradually increasing the number of air bubble flights with various countries is the way forward.

"I think this process of 'let's have more and more bubble flights' and increasing it slowly is a good graduated way of opening up. We did it domestically also, right? We started from 33 per cent, went to 50 and then further. So, a graduated approach is a good approach," he told news agency PTI.

Dutta said it is not up to India to unilaterally open up scheduled international flights and the other countries have to agree.

"There are, of course, health concerns, which I won't minimise in any way. Different countries are on different points of managing Covid-19. Then all these testing issues are sort of confusing the passengers," he added.

The central government last month extended the suspension on international scheduled commercial flights till September 30 in the face of a looming threat of the third wave of infection.

In its circular, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said that scheduled international flights might be allowed on selected routes on a case-to-case basis.

The Indian government banned international commercial flights since March 23, 2020, to check the spread of the Covid-19 infection. It eased the restrictions on flights in certain countries with which India has had an air bubble arrangement during the past year.

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