Days after the Indian government said it would continue to suspend scheduled international flights to and from India until further notice, an about-turn decision has been made to reinstate international air access from March 27.
The decision is welcomed by India’s tourism stakeholders who have been pleading with the government to resume scheduled international flight operations in the country.
Sanjay Razdan, joint secretary, Indian Association of Tour Operators as well as director, Razdan Holidays, said the move “sends a positive message in the international markets that India is ready for international tourism”.
Gaurav Bhatia, executive director, Bird Group, said: “The announcement to resume scheduled international passenger services comes at the right time. The pandemic situation has improved in India as well as globally.”
He expects the resumption of international flights to positively impact India’s aviation companies as well as hotels. Passengers planning their international travel ahead of the summer peak season can expect to see high airfares cooling off, now that seat supply will improve.
The removal of the scheduled international flight ban comes just before the summer holidays in India, between April to June.
However, Ajay Prakash, president, Travel Agents Federation of India, warned that the Indian rupee’s significant depreciation would make overseas travel more expensive and shape outbound demand.
“Hopefully, the air capacity increase can bring down international airfares to more realistic levels to even things out,” he said, adding that there is “tremendous pent-up demand” for travel among Indian residents.