Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of Civil Aviation said that he expected international flights from the country will be fully operational only by the first quarter of 2021. India had earlier extended the ban on regular, scheduled international air travel until October 31.
In a series of media interactions, said he anticipated that the number of domestic flights and passengers would reach pre-COVID-19 levels between the Diwali festival season next month and the New Year. “Domestic aviation is continuing on a steady growth trajectory. We should touch pre-COVID figures between Diwali and the New Year,” he said.
Full resumption of international flights will depend on the virus situation in the country, Puri said and continued, “I cannot anticipate whether other countries will allow in people from India. We have gone ahead and made the best out of a very difficult situation, navigated through turbulence.” Pending resumption of scheduled international air travel, India has air bubbles with 16 countries with a few more under negotiation. Air bubbles are temporary flying arrangements between two countries aimed at restarting commercial passenger services, suspended as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.