India has established special air travel arrangements with Australia to let the Indian and Australian carriers carry the passengers on their flights between India and Australia. According to the Indian Civil Aviation Ministry, airlines can carry the following passengers:
Outbound flights from India
- Nationals/residents of Australia, and foreign nationals with a valid visa who are eligible to enter Australia/New Zealand;
- Any Indian national or national of Nepal or Bhutan destined for Australia/ New Zealand and holding a valid visa of the destination country. It would be for the airlines concerned to ensure that there is no travel restriction for Indian/Nepalese/Bhutanese nationals to enter the destination country before the issue of ticket/boarding pass to the Indian/Nepalese/Bhutanese passenger; and
- Seamen of foreign nationalities and Seamen holding Indian passports would be allowed subject to clearance from the Ministry of Shipping.
Inbound flights into India:
- Indian nationals or nationals of Nepal or Bhutan in Australia and New Zealand;
- All Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders and PIO cardholders holding passports of any country; and
- All foreign nationals holding a valid Indian visa as per extant guidelines.
Australia has now become the latest country to enter into an air bubble agreement with India. It will allow eligible passengers to travel between the two countries.
As per the official statement, Indian and Australian carriers may carry into India, Indian nationals or nationals of Bhutan or Nepal, in Australia and New Zealand as well as all Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders and PIO cardholders holding passports of any country; and all foreign nationals holding a valid Indian visa.
Likewise, residents or nationals of Australia and foreign nationals with valid visas, who are eligible to enter New Zealand and Australia would be able to travel on outbound flights from India.
However, airlines would be required to ensure that there is no travel restriction for Indian, Nepalese and Bhutanese nationals to enter the destination country before issuing the ticket or boarding pass.
As reported earlier, international flights will remain suspended till January 31 but passenger flights under bilateral air bubble pacts will continue to operate.
With this, India now has an air bubble agreement with 33 countries, which includes Australia, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Canada, Ethiopia, France, Finland, Germany, Iraq, Japan, Kuwait, Kenya, Mauritius, Maldives, Nigeria, Nepal, Netherlands, Oman, Qatar, Rwanda, Russia, Singapore, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Tanzania, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, and Uzbekistan.
“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.