International Flights: Air bubble agreement between India and Qatar extended for July 2021 under Vande Bharat Mission
To continue the flight operations under the Central government’s Vande Bharat Mission, the Air Bubble Agreement between India and Qatar on Thursday extended for July 2021. Giving further details, the Embassy of India in Doha said that the flights have resumed under this arrangement. The Indian Embassy also thanked the civil aviation authorities and airlines on both sides for their continued cooperation in providing the requisite air connectivity.
“The Air Bubble Arrangement between India and Qatar extended for July 2021. The flights have resumed under this arrangement. Thank Civil aviation authorities and airlines on both sides for their continued cooperation in providing the requisite air connectivity,” Indian Embassy tweeted.
It must be noted here that the air bubble agreement between the two countries had expired on June 30 due to which many flights from India to Qatar were cancelled earlier in the day which caused confusion among passengers who had booked tickets on these flights.
Looking at the confusion and concern of the passengers, the Indian Embassy assured in the morning that it will be reinstated and later sent out a tweet saying the deal is extended.
On the other hand, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in India has extended the ban on scheduled overseas passenger flights till 31 July 2021. However, this ban will not be applicable to dedicated cargo flights and flights operating under the bilateral air bubble pacts with selected nations.
The scheduled international passenger services have been suspended in India since March 23, 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic. But special international flights have been operating under the Vande Bharat Mission since May 2020 and under bilateral “air bubble” arrangements with selected countries since July 2020.
India has formed air bubble pacts with around 24 countries including the US, the UK, the UAE, Kenya, Bhutan and France. Under an air bubble pact between two countries, special international flights can be operated by their airlines between their territories.
The restriction on scheduled overseas flights was earlier scheduled to end on 30 June after a 15-month gap. In March last year, India suspended international flights for the first time after the government imposed a countrywide lockdown during the first wave of the pandemic.
The Indian government now has a bilateral air bubble agreement with 28 countries for special international passenger flights. Some of these countries are Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iraq, Canada, the UAE, Sri Lanka, France, Germany, Japan, the Maldives, Qatar, Seychelles, Tanzania, Ukraine, Nigeria, the UK and the US.