Vande Bharat Mission Phase 4; Air India to fly from July 11-19



Air India on Sunday, July 5, announced the fourth phase of Vande Bharat Mission, where it will be flying 36 flights between the United States and India from July 11 to July 19, 2020.

In its statement, India’s national carrier said that the tickets may be booked through Air India website only effective 20:00 hours (IST) on 6 July.

Earlier on 22 June, the US Department of Transportation had announced that it had barred Air India from operating chartered flights between India and the United States from July 22 without its prior approval, in apparent retaliation for the Indian government not allowing American carriers to operate between the two countries.

For that the civil aviation ministry of India had issued a statement saying attempts are being made to not stall the Vande Bharat mission and cause inconvenience to passengers, also concrete steps are being taken to establish “Bilateral bubbles” between countries.

As growing demand for resumption of international flights started post successful operation of domestic flights in India, Minister Hardeep Singh Puri was heard addressing the issue in several Webinars, that he is “optimistic” about the international flights opening up soon. He also insisted upon an increase in flight numbers in the coming days from thirty-three percent to fifty percent on various domestic routes.

In its latest guidelines for Unlock 2.0, the Ministry of Home Affairs said that international air travel of passengers has been permitted in a limited manner under the Vande Bharat mission and further opening-up will take place in a calibrated manner. The 36 flights which will fly between India and USA comes under the scheme of the calibrated manner of opening up of international flights.

Under the fourth phase of the mission, Air India will be conducting 170 flights connecting India with Canada, the US, the UK, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Kyrgyzstan, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Thailand, South Africa, Russia, Australia, Myanmar, Japan, Ukraine and Vietnam, as per the airline’s document accessed by the PTI.

After nearly two months of suspension to combat the coronavirus outbreak, the government resumed scheduled domestic passenger flights from May 25 but in a curtailed manner and by placing lower and upper limits on airfares depending upon the flight duration.