New Delhi: The resumption of international flights may take place sooner than it was previously planned now that there has been pressure on Air India and the civil aviation department from the United States. Also Read - We Will Stop Work: Air India Pilot Union Demands Vaccination of Crew on Priority
Here’s what happened Also Read - 30 People on Air India Flight to Rome Test COVID-19 Positive on Arrival
The United States has served an ultimatum of 30 days to Air India, threatening to ban it from carrying out its Vande Bharat Mission as American airlines are not making any money out of it. Air India was the only airline allowed to fly international in the beginning. Not only Indians, but Americans stranded in India were also ferried by Air India as no US airline was allowed to enter India. Also Read - Air India Sydney-Delhi Flight Returns Without Passengers. Here's Why
Now, Vande Bharat Mission is not a free service where stranded people are being rescued at free of cost. It was not like those flights Air India operated to fly people back from Wuhan. Passengers have to buy tickets and, according to a report by Moneycontrol, Air India made up to Rs 40 lakh from one Vande Bharat flight.
According to the latest update, so far 1,25,000 Indians have come back on these evacuation flights and nearly 43,000 have flown out of India.
It is only the latest development that other domestic carriers (IndiGo, SpiceJet) are now allowed to take part in Vande Bharat Mission.
When will international flights start?
Union Civil Aviation minister imposed two conditions on the resumption of the international flights. Once the domestic services reach at least 55 per cent of their capacity and once there is proven demand between two countries — both these conditions being fulfilled, international flights will be opened, the ministry has recently said.
International Flights to start operations
But now, India will have to resume international flight operations. There needs to be an SOP regarding this.
1. It will never be like the pre-COVID-19 era.
2. There will be agreement (green corridor/air bubble) between the two countries before starting international flights.
3. US, UK, Germany, France — these will be the first four countries to get clearance to fly in and out India
4. Airlines of these countries will be allowed to ferry passengers from India. Similarly, Indian international operators will be allowed to carry passengers to and from these countries.