India reopens to international flights after a two-year border shutdown
The South Asian nation has finally reopened to international flights after remaining shut throughout the pandemic as COVID-19 ravaged the nation’s economy.
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However, Indian business is bouncing back, and the government says it's time for its tourism industry to follow suit.
So, as of yesterday (March 27), regular flight operations resumed as 60 airlines from 40 countries were permitted to fly up to 1,783 weekly flights to and from India this summer.
Meanwhile, six Indian airlines -- including IndiGo and Air India -- have been green-lighted for up to 1,466 weekly international departures, bringing the total to 3,249 potential flights to/from India each week until the summer season ends on October 29.
“Today is a very important day,” said union civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia. “All regular international flights services resumed with full capacity from today.
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“During the last two years of the coronavirus pandemic, the international flights were being operated under the air bubble arrangements.”
One of the biggest winners of the reopening was Emirates, which said it was resuming pre-pandemic schedules of 170 weekly flights to nine of India’s largest cities including Mumbai, New Delhi and Bengaluru.
Virgin Atlantic said it will launch a second daily service between London Heathrow and Delhi from June 1, 2022. "Coupled with its service from Mumbai, Virgin Atlantic will offer three daily flights from India making it the airline’s biggest flying program ever to India," the airline said in a statement.
An official for India’s Director General of Civil Aviation added: “Sixty foreign airlines of 40 countries have been allowed to operate 1,783 weekly flights to and from India. The airlines are from countries including Malaysia, Thailand, Turkey, the U.S., Germany, Singapore, Yemen, Sri Lanka, Bahrain, Maldives, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, the Netherlands, France, Japan, Russia, UAE, Australia, Qatar, Britain, Canada and Egypt.”
China, however, was apparently not on the list.