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Wait is over: Govt gears up to allow foreign charter flights from October 15

Wait is over: Govt gears up to allow foreign charter flights from October 15
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New Delhi: As part of the graded opening of the international borders, the government may allow charter flights to and from foreign countries from October 15, 2021, as a prelude to allowing commercial flights after mid-November.

Reliable sources said an official announcement about resuming charter flights could come as early as October 1.

Sharing the information, the person referred to a meeting between global travel grouping World Travel & Tourism Council and Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla.

"The charter flights would be allowed from most countries and would not be limited to 28 nations with which India currently has Air Bubble agreements," sources aware of the plans said.

Only full-vaccinated tourists or those having a negative RT-PCR report 72 hours prior to the departure would be allowed at Indian airports. Those without a negative RT-PCR test report would be tested for Coronavirus on arrival to ensure genome sequencing in case a Covid-19 variant or mutant enters the country.

The same protocol is likely to be followed for commercial flights which could resume after November 15, 2021.

Following the outbreak of Coronavirus in the early months of 2020, the government suspended scheduled international flights from all the countries. Only special flights are currently being operated with 28 countries under the Air Bubble agreement.

Under the Air Bubble agreement, temporary arrangements between two countries are aimed at restarting commercial passenger services when regular international flights are suspended.

As per a circular issued by the aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on September 28, the ban on scheduled international flights has been extended till October 31, 2021.

Foreign airlines seem to be readying their plans to start international flights. American Airlines has announced flights from New York and Seattle to India.

While flight from New York to New Delhi is expected to start from October 31, the flight from Seattle to Bangalore could be launched from January 4, 2022. UNI

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