India enters air bubble pact with Australia amid Omicron threat

India has inked an air bubble agreement with Australia for operation of international flights between both the nations.

India currently has bilateral air bubble pacts with 33 countries
India currently has bilateral air bubble pacts with 33 countries. Photo courtesy: Air India

An air bubble is a bilateral deal with certain rules and curbs that allows both the countries to operate international flights.

As per Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s (DGCA) recent notification, currently scheduled international flight operations remain suspended at least till January 31, 2022. However, dedicated cargo flights, flights under the bilateral air bubble pacts with select countries continue to operate, reported.

India currently has bilateral air bubble pacts with 33 countries, namely: Afghanistan, Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Canada, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Iraq, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Maldives, Mauritius, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Rwanda, Singapore, Seychelles, Switzerland, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, the UAE, the UK, and the USA, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. 

According to the Ministry of Civil Aviation, passengers can move between India and Australia as long as certain conditions are met.

These conditions are:

  • Nationals of India, Nepal, or Bhutan who are in Australia or New Zealand, all Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) cardholders and PIO cardholders who possess passports of any country.
  • All foreign nationals with a valid Indian visa, as per the latest guidelines.
  • Australian nationals/residents, and foreign nationals with a valid visa to enter Australia or New Zealand.
  • Indian nationals or nationals of Bhutan and Nepal, who are travelling to Australia or New Zealand and have a valid visa of their country of arrival.
  • Seamen of foreign nationalities and those with Indian passports, as long as they get clearance from the Ministry of Shipping.