India Resumes All International Flights, Move May Bring Airfare Relief: 10 Points

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India Resumes All International Flights, Move May Bring Airfare Relief: 10 Points

This approval for regular international flights comes under the summer schedule

New Delhi:
Regular scheduled international flights started in India today after a halt of over two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the meantime, international flights had been operating in an “air bubble” arrangement with several nations.

Here’s your 10-point cheatsheet to this big story:

  1. The government has also eased COVID-19 safety rules at airports and in flights, such as doing away with having three vacant seats inside an aircraft for social distancing.

  2. Sixty foreign airlines of 40 countries including Mauritius, Malaysia, Thailand, Turkey, the US and Iraq, among others, can fly to India. This approval for regular international flights comes under the summer schedule, which will be from today till October 29.

  3. Under the previous “air bubble” agreements, the number of flights was restricted to some 2,000 a week and ticket prices had soared high.

  4. With regular flights back, there could be some airfare relief for passengers as airlines add capacity in the summer vacation season.

  5. However, experts have a word of caution on airfare drop expectations. “Ideally, airfare should go down, but we have this looming crisis (Ukraine war) in the world, which has caused oil prices to rise sharply,” aviation sector analyst Vinamra Longani told NDTV.

  6. The Covid rules, which have been eased, also say cabin crew members no longer need to wear personal protective equipment, or PPE, kits, and security personnel at airports can resume pat-down search of passengers.

  7. IndiGo Airlines in a statement today said its international destinations include Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Jeddah, Riyadh, Doha and Bangkok, among others. “Scheduled operations on more than 150 routes will be restarted in a phased manner through April,” the airline said.

  8. Gulf carrier Emirates said it will re-introduce pre-pandemic service frequency across its destinations from April 1. Before late March 2020, when scheduled international services were stopped by India, Emirates operated 170 weekly flights to nine destinations, including Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.

  9. “With this step (regular international flights), I am confident the sector will reach new heights,” Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said on March 8.

  10. The pandemic, however, appears to be gaining in strength in some parts of the world. The Omicron subvariant BA.2 is continuing to gain ground in the US. COVID-19 is also surging again in western Europe due to the more contagious BA.2 subvariant, experts have said.

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