The government has finalised an air bubble agreement with Sri Lanka, which will allow all eligible passengers to travel between the two countries, the ministry of civil aviation said on Saturday.
“This is the sixth such arrangement in (the) Saarc region and the 28th globally,” the ministry said in a tweet.
Scheduled international passenger services have been suspended in India since March 23, 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, special international flights have been operating under the Vande Bharat Mission since May and under bilateral “air bubble” arrangements with selected countries since July.
Under a bilateral air bubble, flights are allowed between two nations with certain preconditions. India has formed air bubble pacts with 27 countries, including the US, the UK, the UAE, Kenya, Bhutan and France.
The Indian government recently extended the ban on international commercial flights till April 30.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has estimated that the aviation industry would continue to experience a contraction and the cash burn in 2021 would balloon to about $75-95 billion from the previously anticipated $48 billion.
“With governments having tightened border restrictions, 2021 is shaping up to be a much tougher year than previously expected,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director-general and CEO.
Meanwhile, the appointments committee of the cabinet has extended the tenure of Arun Kumar, chief of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, by six months beyond April 20, or until further notice, whichever is earlier.
Kumar, a 1989 batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the Haryana cadre, was appointed as DGCA chief in July 2019. He had held additional charge of the post between May and July 2019 with the retirement of BS Bhullar. Prior to his DGCA post, Kumar was an additional secretary at the ministry of civil aviation (MoCA).
Attention travellers!— MoCA_GoI (@MoCA_GoI) April 10, 2021
India has finalized an air bubble agreement with Sri Lanka, making it the 6th such arrangement in SAARC region & the 28th in total. All the eligible passengers will be able to travel between the 2 countries in the near future. Travel safe!