International travel under 'Air Bubble' shrinks further
Faced with a serious pandemic second wave, the already restricted international travel under the 'Air Bubble' flights has shrunk further.
Air India on Wednesday cancelled 13 flights between London, Delhi and Bengaluru, even as more countries imposed restrictions on India travel.
The record spike in Covid-19 cases in the country had forced the United Kingdom to include India to its 'red list'. This list restricts the entry of passengers, except permanent residents, UK and Irish nationals from entering the country.
In a tweet on Wednesday, Air India announced that flights between India and the UK were cancelled from April 24 to 30. Passengers were told that updates on rescheduling, refunds and waivers would be informed shortly.
Of the cancelled flights, the service AI131/AI178 operates in the Mumbai-London-Bengaluru route. The AI177/AI130 Bengaluru-London-Mumbai service originates from the Kempegowda International Airport. AI131/AI130 Mumbai-London-Mumbai and AI161/AI162 Delhi-London-Delhi are the other Air India flights linked to the UK.
Besides the UK, the United States, New Zealand and Hong Kong have also issued fresh travel advisories for their citizens, urging them to avoid any travel to and from India.
It is anticipated that more countries will follow suit as there is no sign of the cases abating. This is likely to trigger more cancellations of Air Bubble flights to these countries.
Since the global spread of the Covid-19 did not permit a quick return to normal scheduled services, India had entered into Air Bubble arrangements with multiple countries. The bubble allows any two countries to restart commercial flights in a limited way.
Currently, India has travel bubbles with 27 countries worldwide, including the US, the UK, Germany, France, Russia, Canada, the Netherlands, Japan, Ukraine, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Seychelles, Afghanistan, Iraq, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Uzbekistan.