Continuing its efforts to boost air connectivity during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new India-Nepal travel bubble has been added to India’s network under air travel bubble agreements.
The Himalayan nation will become the 23rd country with which India has made such pacts. From December 17, 2020, Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, will be linked to Delhi in India by one flight each on Air India and Nepal Airlines. The pact, as it is currently set up, is expected to operate until March 2021.
Some restrictions will apply for the services and no tourist visas will be valid. Additionally, only passengers bound for these two cities will be able to fly to and from the neighboring nation, which was once a kingdom. The agreement was firmed up only recently during the visit of the Indian Foreign Secretary to Kathmandu.
The air travel bubble agreements have helped India to cater to the demand by passengers for air links. To date, India has established travel bubbles with 14 countries including the USA, UK, France, Germany, Canada, the Maldives, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Nigeria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Japan, and now Nepal.
India maintains its embargo on international flights until September 30 with air travel bubbles becoming the only medium through which commercial international travel has resumed since mid-July of this year.
eTN learned that India intends to sign off on more pacts with other countries soon. Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri announced that India was negotiating with 13 more countries to resume international flight operations. These countries include Italy, New Zealand, Australia, Israel, Kenya, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand.
Under the air travel bubble agreements, Indian nationals holding a valid visa with validity of at least one month — other than visa for tourism purpose — are allowed to travel. The India government has now also allowed all OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) cardholders to arrive in India.