The pandemic has surpassed the 2-year mark and things are finally looking up for the tourism industry.
Many countries are lifting their entry regulations, vaccination rates are at an all-time high, and flights are resuming at a rate close to pre-pandemic standards.
The summer flight schedule for India has been released and more than 1,700 flights are expected to go in and out of the country per day during that time. This is between March 27 and October 29.
Of those, nearly 1,450 flights per week will be carried out by Indian airlines.
This includes 60 international airlines from 40 countries including Mauritius, Malaysia, Thailand, Turkey, the United States of America, and Iraq.
“Today is a very important day…All regular international flight services resumed at full capacity today. During the last two years of the coronavirus pandemic, international flights were being operated under the air bubble arrangements” said Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia.
The Indian government has also reviewed many of its airline safety rules and entry regulations to facilitate the influx of passengers that is expected.
The largest carrier in India, IndiaGO, has announced that they will be resuming close to 150 international routes within the first month of flights, introducing them systematically.
“We certainly have plans to open new destinations in the near future, as well as pump up capacity on our existing routes as travel further, opens up. Reaching economies of scale in such a dynamic environment where ATF and other fixed costs are constantly going up, becomes challenging,” said their Chief Commercial Officer Willy Boulter
Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) is the country’s largest airport and saw over 180,000 passengers per day before the pandemic.
A spokesperson for DIAL, the operator of (IGIA), explained where their main influx of passengers would come from. “Post resumption of commercial operations, South East Asia and Europe are expected to be the main drivers of further international passenger growth.”
They also added that the number of international flights is expected to increase by a dramatic 66% percent during the first week of April alone.
Who can travel to India
The issuance of the eTourist visa for India also continues as normal, making it easier than ever for tourists to enjoy the magic of India.
Nationals from several countries are however temporarily unable to obtain tourist visas to India but these measures will soon be revised.
These countries include Canada, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macau, Malaysia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, the United Kingdom, and Uzbekistan.
The simple application requires the passenger’s full name, date, place of birth, contact information, and passport details, and applications are approved between 2 and 4 business days.
India requires passengers to present a negative PCR test or a full record of vaccination before boarding their flights and requests that they self-monitor their health condition for 14 days after arrival.
A list of 95 countries has been released indicating which COVID certificates are accepted by the Indian government as valid proof of vaccination.
Major airlines to resume flights to India
Emirates, one of the world’s largest airlines, confirmed that they too will be resuming normal operations between the Gulf and India. Before the pandemic, they were running close to 170 flights per week to Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, and other major cities.
These flights include 35 to Mumbai, 28 to Delhi, 24 to Bengaluru, 21 each to Chennai and Hyderabad, 14 to Kochi, 11 to Kolkata, 9 to Ahmedabad, and 7 to Thiruvananthapuram.
Flights between India and Sri Lanka will also presume to pre-pandemic standards and close to 90 flights per week will be available once more, touching down in the cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kochi, Chennai, and Bangalore.
Virgin Atlantic will up their daily inbound flights to 2 going between Delhi and London from 1 June and a total of 3 flights will leave India each day.
American Airlines serves one of the most popular routes, flying between America and India, and the Managing Director of Europe, Middle East, and Asia Operations mentioned that new routes will also be added to the schedule.
“American Airlines is proud to serve India with daily service between New York (JFK) and New Delhi (DEL). As India resumes international flying, we look forward to expanding our presence in the country as we deepen our partnership with IndiGo and plan to launch a new service between Seattle (SEA) and Bangalore (BLR) later this year,” said Rhett Workman.
Poland’s LOT Polish Airlines will return to their regular flight schedule to Mumbai at the end of May and Delhi from 29 March.