The DGCA recently released a statement extending the ban on scheduled commercial international flights until July 31. While the ban should previously apply until July 15, according to the MHA guidelines for Unlock 2.0, it was extended within the country a few days after the notification.
On the other hand, the Vande Bharat Mission carried out by a country, is in its fourth phase and also ends on July 31.
This suggests that two options may take shape in August: either VBM will be extended for the fifth phase, or the government will open the sky to international scheduled flights, but with capacity constraints based on the domestic flight model.
As early as May 25, when the government resumed scheduled domestic flights, it reduced flight capacity to a third of the airlines’ original flight schedule. The same model can also be used on international flights.
Also, Minister of Civil Aviation, Hardeep Singh Puri, announced on June 20 that the government would consider resuming scheduled international passenger flights in mid-July if it anticipated domestic air traffic would reach 50 to 55 percent of the previous level Coronavirus.
While in mid-July is inconsistent, a recent ministerial decision said, “A third (1/3) of the capacity can be read as a 45 percent capacity.” This means that domestic flights are already using 45 percent of their capacity, and leading experts and airline management expect capacity to increase to 60 percent by the end of July.
This has revived the theory that DGCA and MoCA could announce the start of international scheduled flights in the first week of August. International flights are currently banned from operating in India as the government announced the ban from March 23, 2020.
In addition, India is in talks with the U.S. and Canada, as well as countries in Europe and the Gulf region, about creating individual bilateral bubbles that allow each country’s airlines in the pact to operate international flights, said Arvind Singh, chairman of the Airports Authority of India (AAI).
(With Inputs fro PTI)