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Air bubble: India, Nepal, Bhutan to resume flight ops

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New Delhi, Dec 11: Nepalese and Bhutanese nationals are allowed to travel on special international flights that are being operated under air bubble arrangements established between India and 11 other countries, the Ministry of Civil Aviation said on Friday.

These 11 countries are Ethiopia, France, Germany, Iraq, Kenya, Netherlands, Qatar, Rwanda, Tanzania, Ukraine and the UAE, the ministry said on Twitter.

Representational Image

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Scheduled international passenger flights continue to remain suspended in the country since March 23 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, airlines have been permitted to operate special international flights under the Vande Bharat Mission since May this year and under the bilateral air bubble pacts since July.

India has established such pacts with around 22 countries, including Nepal and Bhutan.

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Tha aviation ministry also said that airlines can now carry certain categories of sixth freedom passengers.

"Passengers travelling under air bubble arrangements with France, Germany and Netherlands can now further travel to EU/Schengen area, South American and African countries," it tweeted.

Till date, airlines operating flights under the air bubble pact were not permitted to carry sixth freedom passengers from India.

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    Sixth freedom right allows an airline to fly passengers from one country to the hub airport in its home country, and then put those passengers on a connecting flight to a third country.

    A significant number of Indians use European carriers like Lufthansa or Gulf carriers like Emirates to go to the US or Canada.

    The ministry said travellers of air bubble arrangements between India-Qatar and India-UAE can further travel to South America and Africa.

    Passengers travelling under the air bubble arrangement between India and Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania can also travel to any country in Africa, it mentioned.

    "Passengers travelling between India- Ukraine can travel to & from CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries, except Russia," the ministry added.

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