New Delhi: The Civil Aviation Ministry on Tuesday said that it had received requests from several countries including the US, France Germany etc. that their airlines too be allowed to participate in the transportation of passengers on the lines of the one being conducted by Air India under the Vande Bharat Mission. Also Read - Domestic Carriers to Operate 750 Repatriation Flights Under 'Vande Bharat Mission': Hardeep Singh Puri
In a statement today, the ministry said, “We have received requests from concerned authorities in several countries including the US, France, Germany among others that their air carriers be also allowed to to participate in the transportation of passengers on the lines of the one being conducted by Air India under the Vande Bharat Mission,” adding that the requests are being examined. Also Read - Is Air India Charging More For Vande Bharat Flights? No. Here is The Truth
The ministry further noted that it had already had one round of negotiations with the US on June 15 with representatives from the US Department of Transportation and the US Embassy over the issue, adding that the US representatives were invited to submit precise proposals in this respect. Also Read - Vande Bharat Mission 2.0 From May 16, Say Sources as Evacuation of 6,037 Stranded Indians Complete
“A communication has now been received on 19 June 2020, detailing these requests,” the statement added.
The statement further stated that as the ministry now moves on from controlled and managed evacuation of Indian citizens from various countries and that of foreign nationals from India, it was looking at the possibility of establishing ‘bilateral agreements’.
The reason, the ministry said, was that these evacuation flights, which were primarily meant for evacuation of Indian citizens, were increasingly carrying Indians and foreign nationals to countries where they normally reside.
“We are looking at the prospect of establishing individual bilateral bubbles with the US, France, Germany, UK. These are all destinations where demand for travel has not diminished.’ Final decisions pursuant to negotiations are expected to be taken soon,” the statement concluded.
Notably, India launched the Vande Bharat Mission on May 7 in a bid to repatriate its citizens from across the world, who got stuck in various countries due to restrictions because of COVID-19. Three phases of the mission have been conducted thus far.