After a coronavirus pandemic-induced hiatus of over two years, regular international flights resumed from Sunday with airports and airlines getting ready for normal overseas operations.
Battered by the pandemic, the airline industry is slowly coming back to normalcy and the resumption of normal overseas flights is expected to provide a fillip to the sector.
The Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) in the national capital, which is also the country’s largest airport, expects international flight departures to witness a significant jump in the first week of April after the resumption of regular international operations.
While Indian carriers are prepared for normal international services, various foreign airlines, including Emirates, Virgin Atlantic and LOT Polish have also announced plans about their services to and from India.
As many as 60 airlines from 40 countries have been permitted to operate 1,783 frequencies to/from India during the summer schedule, according to DGCA. The summer schedule will be effective from March 27 till October 29.
A total of 1,466 international departures per week have been approved for six Indian carriers for the summer schedule. They will operate to 43 destinations in 27 countries, as per the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
Scheduled international passenger flights have remained suspended since March 23, 2020 in the wake of the pandemic and they will now restart from Sunday.
Overseas flights are being operated now under bilateral air bubble arrangements with various countries.
On March 8, the civil aviation ministry announced that regular overseas flights will resume from March 27 amid a decline in coronavirus cases.
The government has also revised the COVID guidelines for international flight operations, including the removal of the requirement to keep three seats vacant on overseas flights for medical emergencies.
Besides, the requirement for the crew for having a complete PPE kit has been done away with.
On Friday, Gulf carrier Emirates said it would re-introduce pre-pandemic service frequency across its destinations in the country from April 1.
Prior to late March 2020, when the scheduled international services were stopped by India, Emirates was operating 170 weekly flights to nine destinations, including Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.
British carrier Virgin Atlantic would start a second daily service between Delhi and London starting from June 1. Coupled with its service from Mumbai, Virgin Atlantic will offer three daily flights from India, it said on Friday.
With inputs from NDTV