COVID | Negotiating With 13 More Nations on Air Travel: Minister

These countries include Australia, Italy, Japan, Bahrain, Israel, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, among others.

2 min read
Image used for representational purposes.

Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Tuesday, 18 August, tweeted saying that India is negotiating with 13 more countries to establish air travel arrangements.

"These countries include Australia, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Nigeria, Bahrain, Israel, Kenya, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand. The ongoing negotiations will benefit stranded Indians and nationals of these countries," he tweeted.

Air travel arrangements are already in place with USA, UK, France, Germany, UAE, Qatar and Maldives, Puri pointed out.

COVID | Negotiating With 13 More Nations on Air Travel: Minister

Bilateral Air Bubbles

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has severely disrupted air travel across the world, India is now establishing bilateral air bubbles, which are travel corridors between two countries that wish to reopen their borders and re-establish connections with each other.

While scheduled commercial international flight operations in India remains suspended till 31 August, flights to and from these countries will be allowed on the basis of this bilateral agreement.

Air bubbles have also been proposed with the neighbouring countries of Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal and Bhutan, Puri said in another tweet on Tuesday. "Going forward, we will consider such arrangements with other countries also. It is always our endeavour to reach out to every stranded citizen. No Indian will be left behind."

The COVID-19 outbreak has severely crippled the aviation industry in India and abroad. Domestic flight operations in the country had only started on 25 May, after two months of strict lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus.

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