India resumes regular international flights after 2 years

India today resumed scheduled international flight services after a two-year Covid-19-enforced hiatus on most foreign flights, bringing much-needed relief to the tourism industry which has been one of the most affected by the pandemic.

According to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, six Indian airlines and 60 foreign airlines will start connecting India to 63 countries from today.

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Under the new summer schedule, foreign airlines will operate 1,783 weekly flights, while Indian carriers will operate 1,466 departures each week.

The two-year suspension of scheduled flights was imposed in March 2020 following the pandemic. However, a few overseas flights were operated under bilateral air bubble agreements with other countries.

India’s Civil Aviation Ministry announced on March 4 that scheduled overseas flights will resume from March 27 following a drop in Covid-19 cases.

The reopening of regular commercial international passenger services to and from India has been welcomed by stakeholders in the country’s tourism and travel industry.

Rajeev Mehra, resident of Indian Association of Tour Operators, said that it will certainly increase tourist traffic to India and that from September 2022 which marks the start of the next inbound tourism season, a significant share of relevant activities should be back.

Tourism has been one of the sectors most affected by the pandemic, which has impacted the livelihoods of stakeholders linked to the tourism industry.

The Ministry of Tourism has provided financial support in the form of credit under the Credit Guarantee Scheme at preferential rates to regional tour operators, travel agents and tour guides licensed by the Ministry of Tourism.

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