New Delhi: In a major relief for international travelers, who are planning to visit Saudi Arabia, the Indian government recently announced that it has signed the air bubble flight agreement with the Gulf country, and direct flights between both countries will start soon. Scroll down for more details.Also Read – International Flights: Israel Lifts Travel Ban to 55 Countries Amid Omicron Fear
When will the agreement come into force?
The Indian Embassy in Saudi Arabia took to Twitter and wrote: “The Embassy is pleased to announce the Air Bubble Agreement between India and Saudi Arabia with effect from January 1, 2022. ” Also Read – 7 Omicron Symptoms In Fully Immunized People You Should Watch Out For
India’s Air Bubble Agreement with 34 Countries – Full List
Now, with this initiative, India has an air bubble agreement with 34 countries, which includes: Also Read – International Flights: Etihad Airways issues new guidelines for passengers traveling to United Arab Emirates for New Years
- Saudi Arabia,
- Sri Lanka,
- UNITED ARAB EMIRATES,
- United States, and
Due to the increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in the country, operations of scheduled international passenger flights remain suspended in India until January 31.
Earlier this month, the government informed parliament it had a proposal from 10 countries to sign the air bubble deal, announcements of which were made for Australia and Saudi Arabia. The main nations to follow suit are Thailand and New Zealand.
“India has created an air bubble deal with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Indian carriers and carriers from Saudi Arabia are now allowed to operate flights between India and Saudi Arabia and carry passengers on flights defined in the agreement. Traffic transported to / from India will only include passengers originating / destined for Saudi Arabia, and likewise, traffic transported to / from Saudi Arabia will only include passengers originating / destined for India ”, said quoted the Economic Times citing the official statement.
Covid vaccine in Saudi Arabia
Recently, as a major relief for international passengers from India, Saudi Arabia recognized Covaxine as a Covid-19 vaccine approved for travel. In November 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) granted emergency use approval for the vaccine produced locally by Bharat Biotech. In November, the Kingdom approved another vaccine widely used in India, Covishield Except exempt Indians from mandatory quarantine on arrival.
What is an air travel bubble arrangement?
The air travel bubble arrangements are essentially temporary arrangements between two countries to restart commercial passenger services when scheduled international flights are suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic. They are reciprocal in nature, which means that the airlines of both countries enjoy similar benefits.
Who can all fly on Air Bubble flights?
From India to Saudi Arabia:
- Any Indian national or national of Nepal or Bhutan holding a valid visa from Saudi Arabia and destined for Saudi Arabia only.
- It would be up to the relevant airlines to ensure that there are no travel restrictions for Indian / Nepalese / Bhutanese nationals to enter Saudi Arabia before the ticket / boarding pass is issued to Indian / Nepalese passenger / Bhutanese.
From Saudi Arabia to India:
- Indian nationals or nationals of Nepal or Bhutan in Saudi Arabia and Overseas Indian Citizenship (OIC) card holders and persons of Indian origin (PIO) card holders holding a passport of any country.
- It would be up to the relevant airlines to ensure that there are no travel restrictions for non-Indian nationals to enter India on a particular visa category before issuing a ticket / boarding pass to the passenger, and Saudi nationals (including diplomats) holding an Indian visa may also travel in accordance with applicable guidelines.
Currently, passengers to Saudi Arabia fly to and from India through various Gulf countries.