Air France, United Airlines to run limited flights to India
Airport staff push trollies at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai, India, on May 25, 2020. (Rajanish Kakade / AP)
NEW DELHI -- India's civil aviation authority has signed agreements with Air France and United Airlines to operate a limited number of flights to India in an interim arrangement during the coronavirus pandemic until international commercial flights are fully resumed, an official said Thursday.
Air France will operate 28 flights linking Paris with New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore between July 18 and Aug. 1, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri told reporters.
United Airlines will operate 18 flights connecting New Delhi with Newark and San Francisco between July 17 and 31, he said.
Lufthansa is also eager to operate flights, he said.
Similar arrangements are in place with airlines in the United Arab Emirates until Aug. 26, Civil Aviation Ministry spokesman Rajiv Jain said.
"Unless the international civil aviation space reclaims its pre-COVID space, air bubbles (limited, regulated air movements) are the only answer to international flights," Puri said.
The flights will be subject to conditions imposed by each country on the entry of travellers in view of the pandemic, he said.
India's state-run carrier, Air-India, has been operating limited flights to the United States, Europe, Gulf countries and several other nations since May to bring back hundreds of thousands of Indians stranded there and also carry home foreigners stuck in India.