India’s international market finally has a path to recovery

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India’s domestic capacity is rebounding strongly since the latest wave of COVID-19 cases receded, and now airlines can also look forward to gains in international operations as the government prepares to lift flight restrictions.

The country’s Ministry of Civil Aviation on 8-Mar-2022 confirmed that all scheduled international flights to India will be allowed to resume from 27-Mar-2022. This follows an earlier step in Feb-2022 to remove quarantine requirements for most vaccinated inbound travellers.

India has actually already restored a significant proportion of its international capacity through an extensive system of bilateral travel bubbles. But this system is an unsatisfactory interim measure that artificially constrains the market. It has appeared increasingly out of step as other Asia-Pacific countries reopen travel.

The government has attempted to lift the flight restrictions before, only for new waves of cases to postpone the opening. Now, higher vaccination rates and the easing of new case numbers give more confidence that target date will stick this time.

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