On Wednesday, The Ministry of Civil Aviation said that India will resume regular international flights, which have been suspended due to the Covid pandemic, by the end of the year. The government has allowed international commercial flights on a case-by-case basis.
Currently ,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 returning to normalcy. “First, we allowed 100% passenger capacity on our domestic flights and now we allow in-flight food on those flights,” Scindia said at the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) Global Economic Policy Summit.
The announcement comes as a major relief to the aviation industry as well as the tourism industry that have both seen huge losses due to Covid-19 and still continue to face challenges as infections continue to grow rapidly in some parts of the world. The recent increase in cases in Europe will also negatively affect the tourism industry as governments impose restrictions.
Earlier, the General Directorate of Civil Aviation (DGCA) extended the ban on scheduled international commercial passenger flights until November 30 by allowing only scheduled international flights on routes selected by the competent authority on a case-by-case basis and allowing cargo flights.
Experts still think that India’s aviation industry is not yet out of the forest as tourism has not yet regained its pre-pandemic levels. Air Vistara earlier this month said the prolonged suspension of scheduled international flights to and from India is hurting the financial prospects of most airlines.
A prolonged suspension of planned international operations is undoubtedly affecting the financial health of most airlines, thus increasing the pressure (on revenue), PTI news agency quoted Vistara CEO Vinod Kannan as saying. He said the situation is still unpredictable and dynamic.
Following the decline in the number of cases, domestic passenger traffic has increased and airports in all major cities of India also saw an increase in the number. Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) saw a fourfold increase in passenger traffic in August. Civil Aviation Secretary Rajeev Bansal says the government expects domestic passenger traffic to return to pre-Covid levels starting in April 2022.
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