In its latest announcement, India has now entered into an air bubble agreement with the Netherlands and Tanzania, taking the number of countries with which such an arrangement has been made to 20. The air bubble with the Netherlands will be effective from November 1, 2020.
On the air bubble with the Netherlands, a circular from the Ministry of Civil Aviation read, “India has created an air bubble with the Netherlands w.e.f 01 st November 2020 and would remain valid till resumption of scheduled international flights between the two countries.” The circular also mentions that Indian nationals or nationals of Nepal or Bhutan stranded in any country in the EU/Schengen area, South America or Africa as well as all OCI cardholders and PIO cardholders holding passports of any country, can travel on the flights from the Netherlands to India. All foreign nationals (from any country in the EU/Schengen area, South America or Africa only) intending to visit India for any purpose (including their dependents on the appropriate category of dependent visa) except those on Tourist Visa and seamen from EU/Schengen area, South America or Africa can also travel on these flights.
Informing about the air bubble with Tanzania, the Ministry of Civil Aviation sent out a tweet, stating, “Attention travellers! An air bubble arrangement has been established between India and Tanzania. Designated carriers of both countries are permitted to operate flights between the two countries. Please plan your travels accordingly.”
Hinting at an increase in air bubble arrangements between India and other countries, Union Civil Aviation Minister, Hardeep Singh Puri had tweeted, “The mission to bring back stranded citizens began on 6 May 2020 & is now poised to dovetail into Phase-7. International travel of more than 28 lakh people has been facilitated so far. More flights & air bubble arrangements are in place to reach out to more. VBM continues…”
In a bid to restart commercial passenger services when regular international flights are suspended as a result of Covid-19, India earlier had air bubble arrangements with Bangladesh, Oman, Bhutan, Kenya, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Canada, France, Germany, Iraq, Japan, the Maldives, Nigeria, Qatar, the UAE, the UK, Ukraine and the USA.