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After two years, India to resume regular international flights from March 27

New Delhi/Mumbai, March 26

After a coronavirus pandemic-induced hiatus of over two years, regular international flights are set to resume from Sunday with airports and airlines getting ready for normal overseas operations.

Battered by the pandemic, the airline industry is slowly coming back to normalcy and the resumption of normal overseas flights is expected to provide a fillip to the sector.

The Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) in the national capital, which is also the country’s largest airport, expects international flight departures to witness a significant jump in the first week of April after the resumption of regular international operations.

While Indian carriers are prepared for normal international services, various foreign airlines, including Emirates, Virgin Atlantic and LOT Polish have also announced plans about their services to and from India.

Scheduled international passenger flights have remained suspended since March 23, 2020, in the wake of the pandemic and they will now restart from Sunday.

Overseas flights are being operated now under bilateral air bubble arrangements with various countries.

On March 8, the civil aviation ministry announced that regular overseas flights will resume from March 27 amid a decline in coronavirus cases.

The government has also revised the COVID guidelines for international flight operations, including the removal of the requirement to keep three seats vacant on overseas flights for medical emergencies.

Besides, the requirement for the crew for having a complete PPE kit has been done away with.

In a statement on Saturday, IndiGo Chief Commercial Officer Willy Boulter said the airline is keen on resuming international operations back to pre-COVID levels but that will also depend on factors like arrival guidelines of various countries.

“We certainly have plans to open new destinations in the near future as well as pump up capacity on our existing routes as travel further opens up. Reaching economies of scale in such a dynamic environment where ATF and other fixed costs are constantly going up, becomes challenging,” he said.

IndiGo is the country’s largest airline.

On Friday, a DIAL spokesperson said, “Post resumption of commercial operations, South East Asia and Europe are expected to be the main drivers of further international passenger growth”.

DIAL, the operator of IGIA, expects to connect to over 60 international destinations after the resumption of regular overseas flights.

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