The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the aviation industry worldwide, leading to cancellations of flights and closure of airports. To restart international travel, many countries have come together to establish “air bubble” agreements. Civil aviation air bubble agreement is an agreement between two countries that allows their airlines to operate flights between them, under specific terms and conditions during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Civil Aviation Ministry, in consultation with the Ministry of Home Affairs, has been implementing air bubble arrangements from time to time with various countries, considering the COVID-19 situation in these countries. As of today, India has air bubble agreements with almost 28 countries, including the USA, the UK, UAE, Germany, France, Singapore, and others.
The air bubble agreement is a temporary measure to facilitate travel for citizens and permanent residents of both countries. The agreement allows airlines to operate international flights between the two countries under specific rules, including restrictions on the number of flights, the capacity of the airplane, and the timing of flights.
The air bubble agreement allows passengers to travel without the mandatory quarantine period. However, before departing from India or the other country, passengers are required to undergo a COVID-19 test and carry a negative report. The test has to be conducted within 72 hours of boarding the flight, and passengers need to submit a self-declaration form before boarding the flight.
The air bubble agreement also ensures that both countries` airlines comply with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) prescribed by the Indian and the other country`s authorities. The SOPs may include temperature checks, mandatory face coverings, social distancing measures, and other prescribed measures for the protection of passengers and crew from COVID-19.
In conclusion, the civil aviation air bubble agreement is a step towards resuming international travel amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The agreement has enabled the aviation industry to recover from the losses incurred due to the pandemic, and it has been beneficial for passengers who have had to travel for various reasons. As the situation is still uncertain and the pandemic is not over yet, air bubble agreements are essential, and governments must continue to work together to ensure the safety and security of passengers.