Under the bubble arrangement, now foreigners like diplomats and Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card holders and Indian citizens can fly in on flights of those countries’ airlines to India, said a person in the know. And Indian citizens with valid documents can fly out on these flights.
India has allowed this on a reciprocal basis, removing the uncertainty that was surrounding AI flights to US from later this month and on carrying eligible passengers as pe government norms on its flights to France. This led to AI announcing more flights to these three countries.
Now diplomats, OCI card holders and Indian passport holders can travel on United’s Newark-Delhi and San Francisco-Delhi sectors, said a person in the know. Indian citizens with valid documents can travel on United’s India-US flights. United is currently operating only these two routes to India.
Similarly, Germany is learnt to have been allowed to fly Indian nationals destined for EU on its flights out of India as per home ministry guidelines. Till now only foreigners were allowed on those flights. Lufthansa is now allowed to bring in foreigners like diplomats and OCI card holders and stranded Indian citizens.
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Air India Friday said it will operate 180 flights between India and USA under Vande Bharat Mission from July 22 to August 31, 2020, to and from New York, Chicago, Newark, San Francisco and Washington with connections to Hyderabad, Chennai, Bengaluru, Kochi, Mumbai and Ahmedabad. AI will have three flights every week from Delhi to Paris from July 23, every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. And it will have Delhi-Frankfurt four times weekly from July 25, every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Bookings for these flights will start from Saturday (July 18) 8 pm, India time.
In a statement, United said: “United Airlines will operate repatriation flights between New York/Newark and Delhi, beginning Thursday, July 23 through Tuesday, July 28. Customers booking travel on these flights must confirm they meet entry requirements as established by the Indian Government by visiting the Indian Embassy website for information https://www.indianembassyusa.gov.in .”
“Additionally, customers traveling on United nonstop from the U.S. to India will be required to complete the Indian Government’s data collection requirement prior to check-in. Failure to complete the required data collection may result in the cancellation of travel plans. The Indian Government also requires all passengers to install the “Arogya Setu” app on their personal devices; present a completed self-declaration form upon arrival in India; and must sign a form agreeing to quarantine upon arrival at traveler’s expense. Once travellers arrive to India, they must also undergo medical screenings and a 7 to 14-day quarantine. Tickets will be available for purchase on united.com beginning Saturday, July 18,” United statement added.
IndiGo and SpiceJet are considering wet-leasing wide body aircraft (hiring with operating crew) to operate flights to EU and UK.
This will mean more choices for those need to travel between the two countries and lower fares, as already announced by Air India.
If Delta resumes its Atlanta-Mumbai connection under these travel bubbles, meaning before resumption of regular schedule flights, the rules of carriage will for United will apply to Delta. United is operating 18 flights between Delhi and US from July 17 to 31, a Delhi-Newark daily and Delhi-SFO thrice weekly. Air France will operate 28 flights to Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru from July 18 to August 1. Lufthansa will also be operating services to India.
The air bubble is an interim arrangement to ensure continuity of travel by people allowed by governments of both departing and arriving countries till resumption of regular schedule flights.