Air bubble arrangements or bilateral agreements between countries will continue to be the solution for the time being

Regular air travel between countries might remain suspended for a few more months due to apprehensions related to COVID-19, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri has said. CNBC TV 18 has reported that the travel between the countries will be limited to the air bubble agreements.

The Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said, “Behavior of the virus will determine the decision-making of countries.”

The minister further said that the air bubble arrangements or bilateral agreements related to the same between countries under prescribed protocol will be the only solution for international travel.

An air bubble is an arrangement in which two countries can have limited air travel. India currently has air bubble arrangement with nine countries of the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Maldives, Canada, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

According to the minister, India will not need any more air bubble arrangements. “We may not need more air travel bubbles with other countries of Europe at the moment,” he said, according to the report.

India has also started repatriation flights under Vande Bharat Mission to bring back the Indians living abroad. The Mission was started on May 7 after the regular international air travel suspended on March 23.

However, domestic air travel has resumed and airlines have been allowed to operate with 60 per cent fleet.

The domestic flights resumed on May 25. Interestingly, the domestic air traffic increased four times in September to 1,20,000 against 30,000 in pre-COVID times, the minister said.

“Expect at least 200,000 domestic passengers per day by Sep-Oct. Expect to see a bulk of pre-COVID levels by Diwali or end of November,” he said.

According to the report, about 3,00,000 people used to travel internationally by air daily before the COVID-19 outbreak while domestic travel was done by 30,000 people daily.

Read the full report in CNBC TV18