Flights are Coming Back, Albeit a bit Slowly

Expect more flights and increased frequency from airline companies in the domestic sector
 Indian airline companies are gradually increasing the number of domestic flights
Indian airline companies are gradually increasing the number of domestic flights

India&rsquos domestic aviation companies are gradually restarting flights to the relief of business and leisure travellers. Although restrictions by individual states may still impose some difficulties, starting October, there has been a rise in the number of operational flights.

Domestic Flights

For example, Air India has resumed its Mumbai-Mangalore-Mumbai flights, operating four days a week.

Its subsidiary Alliance Air has started Bengaluru-Madurai-Coimbatore-Bengaluru four days a week flights with same day return. The airline has started operations between Jagdalpur and Hyderabad as well as between Jagdalpur and Raipur, recently.

Among the private operators, Spice Jet has started its Delhi-Kangra-Delhi flight since October 12. With Himachal Pradesh ready to allow tourists without any medical certificate, the flight is a welcome option for those who might want to visit the region during Dussehra and Diwali. The airlines also said that from November 8, it will operate daily return flights between Darbhanga (in Bihar) and Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru.

However, before embarking on the domestic flights, it is advisable to check the quarantine rules as they may differ from state to state.

Also, do note, the days of flights may change subject to availability of aircraft and other operational requirements. It is always best to check with the airlines before planning or buying tickets.

International Flights
Although India has been running air bubbles with several countries, according to media reports, international flights are likely to remain suspended till March-April 2021.

According to the guidelines issued for the Unlock 5 phase (October 1 to 31), the central government said international flights will not be resumed during this period, except for all-cargo operations and for flights specifically approved by the DGCA.

In a recent press conference in Delhi, India&rsquos civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri said that Government of India has formalised air bubble arrangements with 16 countries USA, Canada, France, Germany, UK, Maldives, UAE, Qatar, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Japan, Nigeria, Kenya, Iraq, Bhutan and Oman.

However, owing to certain flight operational issues in the arrangement with German carrier Lufthansa, flights between India and Germany have been halted (until October 20, according to latest reports).

The minister said discussions regarding introduction of air bubbles are taking place with Italy, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and others for similar arrangements.

According to the minister, domestic operations were started in calibrated manner with 33 per cent capacity of the approved summer schedule with effect from May 5, 2020, enhanced to 45 per cent from June 26 and 60 per cent from September 2, 2020.

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