The services of all international passenger flights will resume by March 27, Union civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia informed Rajya Sabha on Monday. The minister made the announcement during Question Hour as the Upper House assembled for its second part of the Budget Session after one month’s break.
“All regular international flights will operate in 100 per cent capacity by March 27 as the coronavirus situation in India has improved now,” Scindia said.
The government had banned all international scheduled flights for a week starting March 23, 2020. The ban stretched for nearly two years in the midst of a raging pandemic.
However, special international flights have been operating between India and about 35 other countries since July 2020 under the air bubble.
The move is expected to boost international tourism and will help soften airfares’ which have been soaring due to an increase in crude oil prices.
While the government had earlier planned to resume international flights on March 15, the Russia-Ukraine conflict, which necessitated relief flights to bring back stranded Indians in Ukraine, delayed the process.
Ministry of civil aviation recently also announced “after having recognised the increased vaccination coverage across the globe and in consultation with the stakeholders, the government of India has decided to resume scheduled commercial international passenger services to/from India from March 27”.
For airlines, it is a much-needed relief because resuming international operations means they will be able to use aircraft on longer sectors, resulting in better utilisation of assets. They will also be able to improve their revenue earned per seat because fares are higher on international sectors than on domestic routes.
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