Home Asia India Signs Air Bubble Agreement with Sri Lanka

India Signs Air Bubble Agreement with Sri Lanka

India’s Civil Aviation Ministry on April 10 announced that Sri Lanka and India have finalised air bubble agreement. With this agreement, India now has air bubble arrangement with 28 countries.

“India has finalized an air bubble agreement with Sri Lanka, making it the 6th such arrangement in SAARC region and the 28th in total,” said India’s Civil Aviation Ministry on Twitter.

As per the website of Civil Aviation Ministry, India has air bubble agreement with Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Canada, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Iraq, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Maldives, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates (UAE), United Kingdom (UK), United States of America (USA), and Uzbekistan.

Air bubble agreement, also called “Transport Bubbles”, or “Air Travel Arrangements”, are temporary bilateral arrangements which allow safe international flights between two countries in the aftermath of COVID-19. Such arrangements are among the first steps aimed at slowly getting back commercial passenger services to the pre-COVID-19 pandemic level.

In March 2020, India had closed its borders and banned international flights in wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic. India had also suspended all domestic flights. In May 2020, the Government of India allowed partial resumption of domestic flight services.

India launched “Vande Bharat Mission” (VBM) in May 2020 to safely bring stranded Indians around the world back to India. The key difference between air bubble arrangement and VBM is that under VBM, only Indian carriers could operate. However, due to air bubble arrangement, carriers from signatory countries are also allowed to facilitate travel.