The Govt. of India on Wednesday removed the cap on international flights to Ukraine and also encouraged carriers to operate chartered flights to Ukraine.
This comes after the Russia-Ukraine conflict that has seen Indians rushing out of the eastern European country.
An MEA spokesperson on Thursday said The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has removed the restrictions under a bilateral air bubble arrangement between the two countries.
“Any number of flights as well as charter flights can operate (between India and Ukraine). Indian airlines have been informed to mount the flights due to an increase in demand,” the spokesperson said.
“MoCA is facilitating (this) in coordination with MEA (Ministry of External Affairs),” he added.
Though India has suspended scheduled international flights, overseas flights operate under bilateral air bubble agreements.
It is worth mentioning that at present India has such with bilateral air bubble agreements with 35 countries, including Ukraine.
But, there is no Indian airline carrier that operates flights between India and Ukraine. Only Ukraine International Airlines, the flag carrier of the Eastern European country, flies a weekly one-stop flight from Kyiv to New Delhi via Ras Al Khaimah.
However, other international carriers like Fly Dubai, Air France, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, and KLM operate one-stop and two-stop flights between Ukraine and India.
The ongoing tension between Ukraine and Russia has led to foreigners in Ukraine, including Indians, leaving the country fearing an invasion.
Due to the exodus of people from Ukraine, the airfares are shooting up exponentially as people want to leave the country as soon as possible.
The one-way airfares between Kyiv and New Delhi stand around ₹36,000- ₹80,000 per person.
Spokespersons of most Indian airlines didn’t comment whether they would operate charter/rescue flights to Ukraine.
However, a senior official with an Indian carrier said that his airline is ready to operate charter flights to rescue Indians stranded in Ukraine if directed by the government.
“The situation is pretty tense. Indians are rushing out of Ukraine to avoid getting trapped in the conflict,” the person said, requesting anonymity.