MIAMI – The Indian Minister of Civil Aviation, Hardeep Singh Puri expects that the country will resume international flights by Q1 2021. India extended its imposed travel ban on international air travel until October 31.

Mr. Puri also stated that the full resumption of international flights would depend on the situation and severity of the virus outbreak in the country, adding that he could not anticipate whether other countries will allow-in people from India.

In the meantime, the Asian nation has progressed on air bubbles, which are temporary flying arrangements, to start a light return of commercial passenger services. India has reached air bubbles with 16 countries and has others under negotiation. These include the new Vistara operations.

The special services also include repatriation flights. Regarding these. Deputy Director General of Civil Aviation, Sunil Kumar notified that they will be allowed by the government on a case-by-case basis.

Ramp view of the domestic side of India’s Mumbai Airport. Photo: Shabbir “Leo” Ali.

Domestic Services Overview

Regarding domestic flights, Puri updated that Indian aviation was continuing on a steady growth trajectory. Thus, the number of domestic flights and passenger numbers are set to reach pre-COVID-19 levels. The positive figures would come between the national festival season in mid-November, Diwali, and the New Year.

On March 23, the government suspended inbound services due to the country’s lockdown. The country then experienced a gradual resumption from May 25. According to Puri, a total of 1,536 flights have carried 176,601 domestic passengers until October 2.

Featured photo: Aircraft awaiting takeoff clearance at India’s Mumbai airport. Photo: Wireman27.