India’s resumption of scheduled flights a welcome move

While opening up the aviation sector is a welcome move, India must ensure that travellers adhere to strict Covid norms

Published: Tue 8 Mar 2022, 11:55 PM

Two years after India suspended international flights following a nationwide lockdown imposed to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic, the government has finally decided to resume regular operations from March 27.

Since last year, the country has been operating flights under ‘air bubble’ agreements with several countries, including the UAE, enabling passenger movement. The decision to resume normal operations will bring relief to millions of Indians and foreigners, especially those travelling between the UAE and other parts of the Gulf and India.

The move will hopefully also bring down the fares, especially during the peak travel season, making air travel unaffordable for many.

Of course, the ongoing crisis between Russia and Ukraine has resulted in a spurt in oil prices, which could deter airlines from slashing fares.

Fortunately, India has also seen its Covid-19 infection rates plunge to the lowest levels since May 2020.

Less than 4,000 cases were registered on Tuesday, the lowest in 662 days and also the second day in a row when it recorded less than 5,000 cases.

The cumulative vaccine doses in India have almost touched 1.8 billion. Increasingly, many countries around the globe are opening up, encouraging fully-vaccinated business executives, tourists and students to travel and rediscover places.

The Indian decision to revoke air bubble arrangements and restore normal flights beginning the 2022 summer schedule will provide a big boost to two-way traffic, with both tourists and other visitors heading to the country and Indians resuming their overseas travels.

While opening up the aviation sector is a welcome move, India must ensure that travellers adhere to strict Covid norms, including wearing masks, maintaining social distancing and following the rules on flights.

The past two years may have prevented people from travelling around the globe, but it is important for governments to see that opening up the sector does not result in the return of the dreaded coronavirus disease.

The UAE is one of the most popular overseas destinations for Indians and the return of normal air operations will undoubtedly bring back hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers from the country during the coming summer months.

After a two-year gap, tourism should hopefully take off with a two-way flow of visitors between the two countries.

The Indian government has taken the right decision by opening up the skies at a time when it has succeeded in tackling the pandemic.

Normalcy is also gradually setting in over the country and in many parts of the world and the coming months will hopefully see the end of a grim and frightening chapter globally.

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