Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Tuesday finally break the silence on the resumption of flight service between India and Saudi Arabia which is suspended since September 2020.
“As the gulf nation restricted flights from India and various other nations due to the coronavirus pandemic, India is planning to fly empty planes to Saudi Arabia to bring back Indian citizens stranded there,”
Puri in a series of tweets said that Indian citizens are traveling to & from 27 countries with whom we have air bubble arrangements. Some countries, including Saudi Arabia, have placed entry restrictions on Indian citizens among others. However, VBM flights continue to bring back Indians from Saudi Arabia.
Our citizens are traveling to & from 27 countries with whom we have air bubble arrangements.— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) March 2, 2021
Some countries, including Saudi Arabia, have placed entry restrictions on Indian citizens among others. However, VBM flights continue to bring back Indians from Saudi Arabia.
Last month, Saudi Arabia has extended the suspension on international flights and entry from 20 countries, including India, in the wake of a spurt in coronavirus cases.
“Our planes are flying empty to Saudi Arabia & are bringing back our citizens stranded there. We will be able to carry Saudi Arabia-bound passengers once the travel restrictions on Indians are eased by Saudi Arabia.”
India on 23rd March 2020 has suspended all international flights operation to curb the spread of the Coronavirus. Currently, international flights are operated under the Vande Bharat Mission (VBM) and Air Bubble arrangements to bring back stranded Indians in various countries.
The Vande Bharat Mission is currently in its Phase 9+ and Air India has scheduled to operate over 178 flights between India and Colombo, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Rome, Singapore, Sydney, Tel Aviv, and Yangon.
Apart from Vande Bharat Mission, India has also formalized air bubble arrangements with a total of 27 countries which includes, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Canada, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Iraq, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Maldives, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Rwanda, Tanzania, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Ukraine, and United States of America.
It is worth mentioning here that the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on 26th February announced that the ban on commercial flights to/from India will continue until March 31.