Union Minister for Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri said on Wednesday, October 14 that amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, an air bubble arrangement has been made for flights between India and Ukraine under the Vande Bharat Mission. According to reports, to date, India has formed such arrangements with 16 countries - Afghanistan, Bahrain, Oman, Canada, France, Germany, Iraq, Japan, the Maldives, Nigeria, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Kenya, Bhutan, United Kingdom and United States.
To further widen the scope of international air connectivity, an air bubble arrangement is now in place for flights between India & Ukraine, taking the number of such arrangements to 17.— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) October 14, 2020
Carriers of India & Ukraine will operate between the two countries.
As per reports, India and Ukraine have agreed to the air bubble pact in a bid to operate special international passenger flights between the two countries under restrictive conditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Vande Bharat Mission has brought back over 20 lakh employable Indians to the country from foreign shores, a senior official of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) said earlier. ILO director Dagmar Walter is reported said at a virtual event that India is the largest migrant-sending country as per the 2019 World Bank report and earns up to $82 billion annually in the form of remittances from workers abroad. She added that massive job losses and visa expiry led to a high stranded Indian global migrant population in various countries.
The union government had launched the Vande Bharat Mission in May to bring home stranded Indians from across the world amid coronavirus-related restrictions. The mission is in its sixth phase which will continue till October 24, as per reports.
A bilateral air bubble is when specific countries mutually decide to open the travel corridor between them, based on understanding and partnership. Given the current COVID-19 situation, a bilateral air bubble is signed between two nations who agree to allow inbound and outbound flights between their countries.
This sort of agreement helps the host country acknowledge that they are well aware of the pandemic situation of the other country, and would still want to go forward and allow their passengers to travel to their nation. This mutual understanding is important to ease air travel restrictions for incoming passengers, who have to follow a select protocol keeping in mind the pandemic situation of the host country.
(With agency inputs; Image Credits-PTI)