Asia - Pacific

Bangladesh, India resume flights under air bubble pact

Flights between South Asian neighbors start after over 4 months of suspension due to COVID-19 surge in India

SM Najmus Sakib   | 05.09.2021
Bangladesh, India resume flights under air bubble pact

DHAKA, Bangladesh 

Bangladesh and India resumed flights on Sunday under a bilateral air bubble agreement between the two neighboring countries, after a suspension of over four months due to surging coronavirus infections in India.

The flights, suspended since April, resumed with a Chennai-bound flight of US-Bangla Airlines with 135 passengers from Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB).

Such flights to and from India are scheduled to run regularly from now on, according to officials.

The CAAB late Saturday accepted the proposal of the Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation to resume the air bubble flights between the two South Asian countries.

The air bubble agreement between Bangladesh and India came into effect in October last year and got suspended due to surging infections in India. Later, Bangladesh resumed its flights with a number of countries but did not resume air travel with India.

“Following the government directives and considering the urgency of the traveling of citizens of the two neighbor countries, the operation of Air Bubble Flight will resume from Sept. 5,” read a CAAB statement on late Saturday.

Passengers traveling from Bangladesh to India will be mandatorily subjected to self-paid confirmatory molecular tests on arrival at the Indian airports concerned.

Irrespective of the COVID-19 vaccination, all incoming and outgoing passengers, except children below 10 years old, shall mandatorily possess the COVID-19 negative certificate from the government-authorized laboratories, the statement said.

Unless there is a special requirement by the origin or destination country or the airlines, RT PCR test shall be done within 72 hours of the intended travel, it added.

In both incoming and outgoing flights, no more than 90% passengers of the total seating capacity will be carried in each flight, it added.

“Transport bubbles” are temporary arrangements between the two countries aimed at restarting commercial passenger services when regular international flights are suspended as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation.

India shares its largest border areas with Bangladesh and over 50% of medical tourists who come to India for treatment are Bangladeshis.

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