Following Lockdown 5.0 that allowed more free movement of domestic flights and interstate travel, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri hints that international flights will return when the “situation normalises and cross-border travel no longer poses any danger to our citizens”.
As we write, there are international countries that have active entry bans and mandatory quarantine rules in place. Hardeep Singh addresses this very important roadblock for international air travel when he says “we will also have to consider that countries where we intend to fly are open to incoming foreign citizens”. But people stranded in India and those with essential travel reasons such as reuniting with their family abroad can make use of the Vande Bharat Mission to fly to the countries they wish to return to.
When domestic air travel was first resumed, only 20% of flights were scheduled to fly around India and the Civil Aviation Ministry said it will keep tabs on how the situation unravels. After some back and forth by several states including Karnataka’s partial flight ban, the ministry finally announced that international air travel could manifest and the benchmark is successful operation & response of 50-60% operation of domestic flights in unlock 1.0.
And speaking of international flights, let’s face it, we can never ignore the elephant in the room. International air travel directly depends on travellers being able to reach the airports from wherever they are located. Currently, many tier-II and tier-III cities have travel restrictions that bar their citizens to travel to other cities to board their flights.
On the bright side, AirIndia has announced that bookings will open on June 5th for 75 additional flights to major international destinations including New York, Chicago, and Washington—if things go as per plan international travel could return sooner than we expect.
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