India Signs Air Bubble Agreement With Kenya and Bhutan

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The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has added two more destination Viz. Kenya and Bhutan in the list of Air Bubble Agreement.

Indian carriers will now be able to operate in Kenya and Bhutan as bilateral air bubble arrangements are now in place, Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri informed on Wednesday.

“Reaching out to stranded Indians. In order to further boost bilateral international air connectivity Air Bubble arrangements are now in place with Kenya & Bhutan. Indian carriers will be able to operate to these countries. Carriers of these countries will be able to fly to India.” Puri Twitted

India has the same air bubble arrangements in place with the 13 more countries which includes United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bhutan, Kenya, Canada, Iraq, Japan, Maldives, Nigeria, Qatar, and UAE.

In Africa thus far, an air bubble agreement was operating only with Nigeria.

What is a bilateral air bubble?

“Transport Bubbles” or “Air Travel Arrangements” are temporary arrangements between two countries aimed at restarting commercial passenger services when regular international flights are suspended as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. They are reciprocal in nature, meaning airlines from both countries enjoy similar benefits. The details of such arrangements are as follows:

Kenya

India has created an air bubble with Kenya. Indian and Kenyan carriers are now permitted to operate services between India and Kenya and carry the following categories of persons on such flights:

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A. From India to Kenya

  • Nationals/residents of any country in Africa; and
  • Any Indian national holding any type of valid visa from Kenya and destined for any country in Africa. It would be for the airlines concerned to ensure that there is no travel restriction for Indian nationals to enter the destination country with the particular visa category before issue of ticket/ boarding pass to the Indian passenger.

B. From Kenya to India

  • Indian nationals stranded in any country in Africa;
  • All Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders holding passports of Kenya;
  • Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders holding passports issued by any country in Africa who are eligible to enter India as per MHA guidelines dated 30.06.2020 as amended from time to time; and
  • Nationals of Africa (including diplomats) holding valid visa issued by an Indian Mission in any category covered under Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) guidelines dated 30.06.2020 as amended from time to time.

Bhutan

India has created an air travel arrangement with Bhutan. Indian and Bhutanese carriers are now permitted to operate services between India and Bhutan and carry the following categories of persons on such flights:

A. From India to Bhutan

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  • Nationals/residents of Bhutan and foreign nationals holding valid visa from Bhutan, if required;
  • Any Indian national. It would be for the airlines concerned to ensure that there is no travel restriction for Indian nationals to enter Bhutan with the particular visa category before issue of ticket/ boarding pass to the Indian passenger.

B. From Bhutan to India

  • Indian nationals;
  • All Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders holding passports of Bhutan; and
  • Bhutanese nationals/residents (including diplomats) and foreigners (including diplomats) holding valid visa issued by an Indian Mission in any category covered under Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) guidelines dated 30.06.2020, as amended from time to time.

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