India has resumed international flight operation after almost two years. On March 23, 2020, the Central government had suspended flight operations due to the entry of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.
And in July 2020, overseas flights became operational under bilateral air bubble arrangements with various countries. But the ban on regular international flight operations stretched for nearly two years in the midst of a raging pandemic. Now, on March 27, the regular international flights operations have finally restarted their operations.
As many as 60 airlines from 40 countries have been permitted to operate 1,783 frequencies to/from India during the summer schedule, according to DGCA. The summer schedule will be effective from March 27 till October 29.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has approved a total of 1,466 international departures for six Indian airlines for the summer schedule. The airlines will operate to 43 destinations in 27 countries. Besides, various foreign airlines, including Emirates, Virgin Atlantic, and LOT Polish have also announced plans about their services to and from India.
The Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) in the national capital, which is also the country’s largest airport, expects international flight departures to witness a significant jump in the first week of April. IGIA handled around 1.8 lakh passengers per day during pre-Covid times. Among the foreign airlines, Emirates (which has the biggest operations in India) will operate 170 flights a week. Air Arabia will operate 140 flights. US-based carriers, United Airlines and American Airlines will operate 28 flights and 7 flights every week, respectively.
On the other hand, European airlines, such as British Airways will operate 49 departures, German carrier Lufthansa will operate 32 flights, and Air France will operate 20 flights per week, respectively. Sri Lanka Airlines will fly 128 flights, Oman Air 115 flights, Singapore Airlines 65 flights, and Malaysia Airlines 30 flights per week, respectively. Thailand-based Thai Airways and Thai Smile will operate 36 and 21 flights every week, respectively.
The government has also revised the Covid guidelines for international flight operations, including the removal of the requirement to keep three seats vacant on overseas flights for medical emergencies. Besides, the requirement for the crew for having a complete PPE kit has been done away with.