International Flights Latest Updates: Scheduled international passenger flights have been suspended in India since March 23 due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, special international flights have been allowed under the Vande Bharat mission and the bilateral air bubble pacts formed by India with around 18 countries, including Ukraine and Bangladesh. But there are some countries where Indians are not permitted to travel. Also Read - 'Highly Speculative' to Say Coronavirus Did Not Emerge in China: WHO Expert

Till now, the Centre has facilitated the repatriation and international travel of over 20 lakh people through different means since May 6 2020, said Hardeep Singh Puri. Also Read - India Deploys MARCOS In Eastern Ladakh, Naval Commandos To Get New Boats Soon

Destinations where Indians can fly to?   Also Read - COVID-19: Entire Delhi Can be Inoculated Within 3-4 Weeks of Vaccine Availability, Says Satyendar Jain

At present, Indians can travel to 18 countries as the Ministry of Civil Aviation has established a separate bilateral air bubble arrangement with these nations for the operation of special international passenger flights.

‘Air Travel pacts’ are temporary arrangements between two countries aimed at restarting commercial passenger services when regular international flights are suspended as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. They are reciprocal in nature, meaning airlines from both countries enjoy similar benefits.

The United States, the UK, Germany, France, the UAE, Maldives, Canada, Japan, Bahrain, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Qatar, Iraq, Oman, Bhutan, Kenya, Bangladesh and Ukraine are the 18 countries where Indians can fly.

Bangladesh will resume flights to India from October 28. Three Bangladeshi carriers — Biman Bangladeshi Airlines, US-Bangla Airlines and Novo Air — would initially operate 28 flights a week, while five Indian airlines — Air India, IndiGo, SpiceJet, Vistara and GoAir — would operate 28 flights a week between the two countries.

The passengers would have to undergo COVID-19 testing before flying.

Countries that have restricted Indians

Hong Kong: It has banned Air India and Vistara flights from October 17 till the end of this month after a few passengers on their flights tested positive for COVID-19 post-arrival. Notably, this is the third time that Hong Kong is banning Air India flights for bringing passengers who tested positive for the infection after arrival.

Germany: Recently, issues had occurred regarding the number of flights being operated by Lufthansa and Air India between India and Germany, leading to the suspension of the air bubble arrangement between the two countries. However, under Air Bubble Agreement, national carrier Air India has announced that it will operate flights between India-Germany from October 26 to March 28.  Flyers can book their ticket on the airline’s official website, call centres or booking offices.4

Dubai: Last month, Dubai authorities had banned all Air India Express flights for 15 days for allegedly carrying coronavirus positive passengers twice. But now Dubai has allowed flights to resume from India.

However, the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA) told Air India Express to reject COVID-negative test reports of passengers from four Indian laboratories——Suryam Lab in Jaipur, Microhealth Lab in the cities of Kerala; P Bhasin Pathlabs and Noble Diagnostic Centre in Delhi.