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Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri (ANI)
Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri (ANI)

India negotiating with 13 countries for bilateral air travel arrangements: Puri

  • Air bubbles have also been proposed with Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal and Bhutan, said the Civil Aviation Minister
  • 'It is always our endeavour to reach out to every stranded citizen. No Indian will be left behind,' says Puri

New Delhi: India is negotiating with 13 countries to establish bilateral air bubble arrangements for international flight operations amid pandemic, said Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Tuesday.

"We're taking our efforts forward and negotiating with 13 more countries to establish air travel arrangements. These include Australia, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Nigeria, Bahrain, Israel, Kenya, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea & Thailand," said Puri in a series of tweets.

"The ongoing negotiations will benefit stranded Indians & nationals of these countries," Puri further said.

Air bubbles have also been proposed with Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal and Bhutan, he said.

Puri said his ministry will continue to further strengthen the reach and scope of Vande Bharat Mission and that air travel arrangements are already in place with USA, UK, France, Germany, UAE, Qatar and Maldives.

Going forward, Puri said, India will consider such bilateral arrangements with countries other than the ones mentioned above.

"Going forward, we will consider such arrangements with other countries also. It is always our endeavour to reach out to every stranded citizen. No Indian will be left behind," Puri said on Twitter.

Scheduled international passenger flights continue to remain suspended in India since March 23 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

After a gap of two months due to the coronavirus-triggered lockdown, India resumed domestic passenger flights on May 25.

However, average occupancy rate in Indian domestic flights has been around just 50-60 per cent since May 25.

Currently, airlines in India are permitted to operate 45 per cent of their pre-Covid domestic flights.


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