India will resume operations of scheduled international commercial flights from March 27 after a two-year hiatus, the Ministry of Civil Aviation said.
While scheduled international flight services have been suspended since March 2020 due to the pandemic, special flights have been operating between India and 37 countries since July 2020 under air bubble arrangements, the Indian Express reported.
“After having recognised the increased vaccination coverage across the globe and in consultation with the stakeholders, the Government of India has decided to resume scheduled commercial international passenger services to/ from India from 27.03.2022, i.e. start of summer schedule 2022,” the Ministry of Civil Aviation said in an official statement.
It said the international operations will be subject to “strict adherence to the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare guidelines for international travel” dated February 10, which state that all travellers coming to India should either have a full-vaccination certificate or a negative RT-PCR report (test conducted 72 hours prior to boarding).
As the decision comes just ahead of the summer travel season, it will allow airlines to add international flights.
Prior to the suspension of flights in March 2020, as per the winter schedule of 2019-20 (October 27, 2019 to March 28, 2020), approximately 580 international flights operated from India per day, of which 247 were operated by Indian airlines and 333 by international carriers.
After the first suspension in March 2020, which was valid for a month, the government extended the ban every month. An earlier plan to resume flights from December 15, 2021 was shelved by the government following the emergence of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.