India might restart regular international flights this summer after a substantial number of people across the world are expected to be vaccinated. For vaccinated passengers, tests and quarantine measures are likely to be eased in the next three to four months, which will bring a semblance of normalcy in customers' flying habits.
Senior government officials said that relaxing measures will be part of the discussions aviation ministry would have with the home ministry, as mentioned in a report in The Economic Times. The home ministry had stated that to ease up restrictions, the two ministries would have a discussion. The resumption of flights is also likely to depend on how other countries respond and the demand for travel, officials said. Officials also said that flight bubbles could also be looked at initially.
IndiGo CEO said on an earnings call on Thursday that short-haul international flights might start during April-June period. He said that the government is working on reopening international flights gradually.
India had banned regular international and domestic flights in March as the entire country went into a lockdown. The government only allowed limited Air India flights under the Vande Bharat scheme. As lockdown restrictions eased, flights restarted and the government allowed foreign carriers under the bubble agreement. Currently, India is allowing international passengers who have 'no coronavirus' certificate.
India has air bubble agreements with 23 countries including the US and the UK. The International Air Transport Association is in favour of resuming international flights and removing travel restrictions for ones who have taken the vaccine. Other countries that have proposed to remove travel restrictions for vaccinated individuals include Greece, Poland, Latvia, Lebanon and Seychelles.