Aviation minister H S Puri in a series of tweets on Wednesday said: “Air India has announced that it will open bookings from 5 pm on June 5 for 75 additional flights to destinations in US and Canada including New York, Newark, Chicago, Washington, San Francisco, Vancouver and Toronto under third Phase of Vande Bharat Mission between June 9-30, 2020. Those who wish to travel to US and Canada and fulfil required entry conditions can book themselves on these outbound flights. Some foreign airlines have already carried out evacuation flights & are planning to operate more flights. These flights will also take foreign nationals.”
On the issue of resuming schedule international flights, Puri tweeted: “Normal International civil aviation operations will only start when they can. Right now most of our metro cities are under some form of restrictions due to which people from other cities cannot travel to catch flights and we also have requirement for mandatory quarantine on arrival.”
“We have to wait for the domestic operations to touch about 50-60% and consider the behaviour of the virus and its spread to fully lift these restrictions & Lockdown. Till then flights under Vande Bharat Mission are facilitating both inbound & outbound international passengers.”
While medium to long haul Vande Bharat flights are being operated only by Air India using its wide body fleet of Boeing 777 and 787s, flights to nearby regions like the Gulf will see private Indian airlines like IndiGo and SpiceJet chip in with AI.