UAE-India travel agreement to be reviewed on July 20: Hardeep Singh Puri

The Minister said the arrangements MoCA has with Middle East carriers is for an initial phase of two-weeks.

The travel agreement between India and UAE will be reviewed on July 20, said Minister of Civil Aviation (MoCA) Hardeep Singh Puri during a press briefing Thursday.

The Minister said the arrangements MoCA has with Middle East carriers is for an initial phase of two-weeks. “We will see how the operations are conducted in the coming days, and based on that we will review the arrangement. We are barely three days on the start of the operation with the UAE, which began on July 12,” explained Puri.

“Now based on factors such as demand, we will request the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to review the arrangement on July 18, 19, or 20, and see how much an extension can be offered and to what time period. It also depends on the demand from the sector,” he added.

Bilateral air bubbles only way to travel amid pandemic

He underlined that bilateral air bubbles will be the way to resume international travel amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Commenting on the resumption of normal civil aviation operations in India, Puri said the decision largely depends on the behaviour of the virus, demand from passengers, and how many of the Indian cities are willing to take in aircrafts.

“Till international civil aviation can reclaim its pre-Covid numbers, I think the answer will lie through bilateral air bubbles which will carry a possible number of people but under defined conditions as countries are still imposing entry restrictions including India,” said Puri.

Vande Bharat Mission

“The Vande Bharat Mission is currently in the fourth phase. It involves 619 flights which will bring back more than 200,000 Indians. We are evacuating about 20,000 people every day,” Puri said. He said 687,467 people have been brought back so far out of which Air India carried 215,495.

Air bubbles with France, USA, Germany

“We are at an advanced stage of negotiation of air bubbles between three countries – France, United States of America, and Germany,” said Puri. Air France will be operating 28 flights to the Mumbai, Delhi, and Bengaluru sectors to Paris from July 18 to August 1. “Air India flights were earlier scheduled at one flight per day, now it would be about 13-14 flights during the same time period,” explained Puri.

From the US, United Airways and Delta Airlines is expected to operate 18 flights from July 17 to August 31 from Delhi to Newark and daily between Delhi to Newark and San Francisco. “We have a request from the Germans also. Lufthansa is almost done (sic). These are interim agreements and are subject to further negotiations,” he added.

“Subject to dotting the I’s and crossing the t’s. We also happy to allow other airlines to join in. The whole purpose of a bubble is to allow carriers designated to and agreed between the countries also to join in,” he explained. He has also welcomed Indian private carriers to start operations to long-haul destinations.



Dhanusha Gokulan

Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for 10 years. She has a keen interest in writing about issues that plague the common person, and will never turn down a human interest story. She completed her Bachelor in Arts in Journalism, Economics, and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves travelling, and Audible is her favourite mobile application. Tweet at her @wordjunkie88


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