Covid-19: India relaxes restrictions on international travel

Airlines do not need to keep three seats vacant on international flight



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A Staff Reporter

Published: Sat 26 Mar 2022, 4:14 PM

Last updated: Sun 27 Mar 2022, 9:23 AM

As scheduled international flights resume operations from Sunday after a two-year gap following the pandemic, the Indian government has revised the guidelines, relaxing many of the existing Covid-19 related restrictions.

Cabin crew members do not need to wear personal protective equipment kits, while security personnel at airports cam resume pat-down search of passengers when it is needed.

Airlines also do not need to keep three seats vacant on international flights for medical emergencies. The rules have been relaxed to ensure “a smooth conduct of air operations,” said the government, even as Covid infections continue to fall because of the high vaccination levels in the country.

But wearing of protective face masks and maintenance of hand hygiene/sanitisers is compulsory both at airports and on flights. "Airlines may carry a few additional PPE protective gears, sanitisers and N-95 masks, to handle any respiratory infections related to cases on air, for passengers as well as the crew," said an official spokesperson on Saturday.

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India suspended scheduled international passenger flights on March 23, 2020 following the Covid crisis. But it signed air bubble agreements with 45 countries since July 2020, enabling international travel.

Airlines were allowed to operate their full domestic services in October last year. Nearly 7.7 million domestic passengers travelled in February, about 20 per cent more than in January.


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