Air Bubble Agreements
India has signed an air bubble arrangement with Ukraine, taking the number of countries under air bubble pact to 17.
• In view of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there are restrictions on international flight operations to/from India.
• The Indian aviation and health infrastructure are currently trying its best to efficiently handle the large scale Vande Bharat Mission and Air Bubble operations.
• International flights from both sides will fly between two countries. While Kiev, the Ukrainian capital will be the base for flights between the two countries, it’s not yet clear about the Indian cities from where flights to and from Ukraine will fly.
• India has already entered into Air Bubble agreements with several countries viz. USA, Canada, France, Germany, UK, Maldives, UAE, Qatar, Afghanistan and Bahrain, Kenya, Bhutan, Oman.
• Government- is in discussion with Italy, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, and several others for similar arrangements.
About Air Bubble Agreements
The essential details of Air Bubbles agreements are as follows:
1. These are temporary agreements between two countries aimed at restarting commercial passenger services when regular international flights are suspended as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
2. They are reciprocal in nature i.e. airlines from both countries enjoy similar benefits.
3. Tickets for the flights are sold through the airlines' website, travel agents and Global Distribution Systems.
How's Air Bubble Pact Different from Vande Bharat Mission?
Unlike Vande Bharat Mission, the Air Bubble Pact is a bilateral agreement between two countries to allow flyers travel freely without registering with the government.
In Vande Bharat Mission, one has to register their name with the Indian Embassy in order to fly out of a specific country.
Also, in Air Bubbles, flights from both the countries are allowed to fly increasing options and reducing prices.
Mission Vande Bharat is undertaken only in countries from where no flight is allowed to fly.
Is Tourist Visa Applicable for Flights Under The Air Bubble?
Yes, certain countries like Dubai, Bahrain, Afghanistan have allowed tourists to fly into country with certain restrictions.
However, majority of flights are still bringing out stranded Indian citizens, OCI card holders & diplomats.
If the country has not allowed tourist visa, Indian nationals cannot fly to these countries.
One needs to have a valid visa to enter countries which are not allowing tourism activities.
Limited quarantine and other related health facilities to be provided by the airlines and the governments are a factor that has to be taken into account before regular commercial scheduled international operations are allowed.