restarting-the-international-air-travel-and-the-idea-of-travel-bubbles

Context: India’s aviation regulator DGCA has said that the suspension of scheduled international commercial passenger flights will continue till midnight on June 30.

When will India allow regular International flights?

  • The decision on the timing might not entirely be India’s call considering that this depends mostly on the destination country’s assessment of India being safe.
  • Also, it depends on consequent permissions that need to be issued to Indian carriers to fly to their airports.

Worldwide scenario

  • A number of countries within Europe have announced opening up of borders for intra-Europe travel June 15 onwards, which will enable air travel including for leisure purposes.
  • Countries like Sweden, the UK, Ireland, The Netherlands, and Slovenia have opened borders to EU tourists, while those like Germany, Hungary, Romania, Finland have opened up partially.
  • The Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania have also recently started a ‘travel bubble’ to help put their economies back on track after COVID-19 lockdowns.

Concept of “bubbles” or “air bridges”

  • Creating a travel bubble involves reconnecting countries or states that have shown a good level of success in containing the COVID-19 pandemic domestically. 
  • Ensuring safety
    • Passengers can be tested before a preflight period of quarantine and they will then be tested every two days in quarantine after they land. 
    • The need of the hour is to find the shortest safe quarantine period for brief business trips, instead of the 14-day prescription in vogue currently.

Benefits of creating travel bubble:

  • Such a travel bubble would allow the members of the group to rekindle trade ties with each other, and kickstart sectors such as travel and tourism.
  • According to a report in The Economist, potential travel bubbles among better-performing countries worldwide would account for around 35 percent of the global GDP. 
  • Such travel bubbles are especially being favored by smaller countries, who are likely to benefit after being able to trade again with larger partners.

About Directorate General of Civil Aviation(DGCA)

  • It is an attached office of the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
  • Functions:
    • The Directorate General of Civil Aviation is the regulatory body in the field of Civil Aviation primarily dealing with safety issues. 
    • It is responsible for the regulation of air transport services to/from/within India and for enforcement of civil air regulations, air safety, and airworthiness standards. 
    • It also coordinates all regulatory functions with the International Civil Aviation Organisation.
  • The headquarters are located in New Delhi with regional offices in various parts of India.

 

Baltic countries

  • These include countries of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, on the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea.

                       Source:rf.com

  • In 1991, their then popularly elected governments declared independence from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) with overwhelming support.
  • India and Baltic countries have historical connect and common linguistic roots. The cutting edge technology and innovation ecosystems of the Baltic countries complement India’s huge market and appetite for these technologies