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Friday, August 14, 2020

India inks air bubble deal with Kuwait; talks on for similar arrangement with UK, Canada

India’s other ‘transport bubbles’ with France and Germany are also subject to the countries and the European Union allowing Indian citizens to arrive into their jurisdictions — something they currently do not allow.

Written by Pranav Mukul | New Delhi | Published: August 1, 2020 12:12:52 am
india kuwait air bubble deal, india kuwait Transport Bubble deal, air india The Ministry of Civil Aviation, and national carrier Air India, were also looking to operate flights to Hong Kong, but the ministry said that Hong Kong administration was not allowing flights from certain points of origin, including India. (Source: Bloomberg)

A day after Kuwait announced lifting of travel ban for its residents across the world, except those from seven countries including India, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said that a ‘transport bubble’ arrangement has been signed with Kuwait “to uplift stranded passengers both to and from India. A senior government official said that the Centre was in talks with the UK and Canada to sign arrangements for such ‘transport bubble’.

“To allow gradual movement of passenger traffic during the Covid-19 situation, ‘Transport Bubble’ agreements have been signed with USA, France, and Germany. Recently, ‘Transport Bubble’ agreement has also been signed with Kuwait to uplift stranded passenger both to/from India. More similar arrangements are likely to fructify and ease passenger movements from different countries,” the DGCA said in a press note.

In a tweet on Thursday, Kuwait’s Center for Government Communication said: “Allowing citizens and residents of the country to travel to and from the State of Kuwait, except for residents coming from the following countries: Sri Lanka, India, The Philippines, Bangladesh, Nepal, Iran and Pakistan”.

India’s other ‘transport bubbles’ with France and Germany are also subject to the countries and the European Union allowing Indian citizens to arrive into their jurisdictions — something they currently do not allow. Last week, French Prime Minister Jean Castex had told reporters France will require on-the-spot Covid-19 tests for people arriving from 16 countries, including India, the US and Brazil, where the pandemic is spreading widely.

A senior government official said that the transport bubble arrangements mean that airlines of both countries in an arrangement will be permitted to fly passengers both ways, but alluded to the fact that restrictions imposed by India’s home ministry and the foreign countries could mean only those who clear these checks will be able to travel out or in. “Things have opened up compared with before but someone can travel only if they do not face any visa restrictions, etc. Every nation has a different policy, which is not under our purview. These airlines can carry transit passengers, and we are enabling and facilitating it,” the government official said.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation, and national carrier Air India, were also looking to operate flights to Hong Kong, but the ministry said that Hong Kong administration was not allowing flights from certain points of origin, including India. “Civil aviation access is a matter of reciprocal bilateral arrangements. As far as flights to & from Hong Kong are concerned, the problem is that HK is not allowing flights from certain places of origin including India. @airindiain has applied for permission with the authorities,” the civil aviation ministry said in a tweet.

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