India’s civil aviation ministry announced on Wednesday that regular international flights, which had been suspended due to the Covid pandemic, will resume by the end of the year. Commercial international flights have been allowed on a case-by-case basis by the government.
Recently, civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said the government is keen to resume normal international travel operations and is evaluating the process. “We are evaluating the process. We are coming back to normalcy. First, we allowed 100% passenger capacity in our domestic flights and now we allowed in-flight meals in those flights,” Scindia said at the Confederation of Indian Industry’s (CII’s) Global Economy Policy Summit.
The announcement is a major relief for the aviation and tourism industries, both of which have suffered significant losses as a result of Covid-19 and continue to face challenges as infections spread rapidly in some parts of the world. As governments impose restrictions as a result of the recent increase in cases in Europe, the tourism industry will suffer.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had previously extended the ban on scheduled international commercial passenger flights until November 30, allowing only international scheduled flights on selected routes as determined by the competent authority on a case-by-case basis and cargo flights.
Experts believe that India’s aviation industry is still in the early stages of recovery, as tourism has yet to recover to pre-pandemic levels. The prolonged suspension of scheduled international flights to and from India, according to Air Vistara, is hurting most airlines’ financial prospects.
“A prolonged suspension of scheduled international operations is definitely impacting the financial health of most airlines, thereby adding to the pressure (on the revenue),” Vistara CEO-designate Vinod Kannan was quoted as saying by news agency PTI. He said the situation is still unpredictable and dynamic.
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