Regular international passenger flights to and from India were resumed on Sunday after more than two years, PTI reported.
India had suspended all scheduled international flights on March 23, 2020, ahead of a nationwide lockdown imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Till date, India had been operating limited flights under bubble agreements with 37 countries. Under a bilateral air bubble agreement, both countries can operate flights to each other’s territories with some restrictions.
In November, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation had decided to resume scheduled commercial international passenger flights from December 15. The decision, however, was rolled back a day later after the emergence of the Omicron variant of coronavirus in the country.
On Sunday, Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said that the decision to resume international flights will help connect India with the world, according to The Indian Express.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation said that six Indian and 60 foreign airlines will operate flights to 63 countries from Sunday onwards.
Foreign airlines will operate 1,783 flights every week, while India carriers will operate 1,466 flights weekly as per the summer schedule – between March 27 and October 29.
IndiGo’s Chief Commercial Officer Willy Boulter said that the airline was keen on resuming international operations back to pre-pandemic levels, PTI reported.
“We certainly have plans to open new destinations in the near future as well as pump up capacity on our existing routes as travel further opens up,” Boulter said in a statement.
The government also announced revised Covid guidelines for international flight operations, including the removal of the requirement for cabin crew to wear personal protective equipment, according to PTI.
The requirement to keep three seats vacant on overseas flights for medical emergencies has also been waived off.