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India’s air bubbles

Date: 22 September 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous


Even though India has extended its embargo on international flights till September 30, “air bubbles” or “air bridges” have become the only medium through which commercial international travel has resumed since mid-July.



Air bubbles allow citizens to travel freely between specified nations under a reciprocal arrangement.



  • In order to mitigate a host of quarantine and Covid-10 testing rules in arrival destinations, governments are implementing “air bubble” agreements between countries.

  • Air bubbles or travel corridors are systems established between two countries that perceive each other to be safe and allow carriers of both the countries to fly passengers either way without any restrictions.

  • Such an arrangement will also allow the members of the group to rekindle trade ties with each other, and kickstart sectors such as travel and tourism.

  • The Baltic countries of Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia were the first ones to create an air bubble, allowing free travel among themselves, while restricting outsiders.

  • India has formed agreements with 10 nations — United Kingdom, Canada, the Maldives, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Nigeria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Japan.

  • Indian nationals holding a valid visa with validity of at least one month, other than visa for tourism purpose, are allowed to travel.

  • Besides, the government has now allowed all OCI cardholders to arrive into India. The foreign airlines have also been permitted to carry passengers who want to transit through their countries subject to the destination country allowing travel into their borders.