Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri announced the resumption of commercial international flights last month. Puri said India has established a bilateral air bubble with the US, France and Germany and India is in talks with the UK to start international flights.  

While the world battles with the pandemic, governments are increasingly looking for ways to resume international flights. Establishing air bubbles with countries seems to be the way to begin. Puri said:

Till international civil aviation can reclaim its pre-COVID numbers, I think answer will lie through bilateral air bubbles which will carry a possible number of people but under defined conditions as countries are still imposing entry restrictions incl India.

But, what is the bilateral air bubble and what are the rules to follow?  

According to the ministry, Air France operated 28 flights between Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai and Paris from 18th July and 1st August. United Airlines, American carrier, flew 18 flights between India and the US from 17th July to 31st July. Lufthansa also operated a few flights. 


Under the already ongoing Vande Bharat Mission, Air India operated 1103 flights bringing back 2,08,000 Indians and ferried back 85289 passengers.  

Interesting to note that last month the US has warned that unless US airlines get permission to operate flights like Air India, India will need permission for every flight entering the US.  


While India is in talks with the UK to establish an air bubble, the UK had already allowed visitors from 75 countries to enter without undergoing any quarantine. India is not on the list.  

Although the flights will be operational, the movement is still restricted. Every traveller will have to provide a compelling reason to like Vande Bharat Mission flights. Only Indian nationals or overseas citizens will be allowed to board a Paris-Delhi flight.  

The prices will also be capped.