India has entered into Air Bubble agreements with 10 countries viz. USA, Canada, France, Germany, UK, Maldives, UAE, Qatar, Afghanistan and Bahrain, till Sept 13, 2020, Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of State (I/C) Civil Aviation, informed Lok Sabha yesterday.
These are temporary agreements between two countries aimed at restarting commercial passenger services when regular international flights are suspended as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. They are reciprocal in nature i.e. airlines from both countries enjoy similar benefits. Tickets for the flights are sold through the airlines' website, travel agents and Global Distribution Systems.
In view of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there are restrictions on international flight operations to/from India. The Indian aviation and health infrastructure is currently trying its best to efficiently handle the large scale Vande Bharat Mission and Air Bubble operations. Limited quarantine and other related health facilities to be provided by the State Governments is a factor that has to be taken into account before regular commercial scheduled international operations are allowed.