India-Germany flights recommence under bilateral air bubble agreement, says minister Hardeep Puri

Lufthansa had on Sept 29 announced suspension of all its planned flights between India and Germany till Oct 20, citing unexpected rejection of its schedule by Indian officials.

DGCA had previously extended the suspension of all scheduled international commercial passenger flights a number of times as the spread of Coronavirus infection remains unabated.

Flight services between India and Germany have recommenced under the bilateral air bubble arrangement, and Lufthansa and Air India will operate 10 and seven flights, respectively, per week, Minister of Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri said on Wednesday. The German carrier had on September 29 announced suspension of all its “planned flights” between India and Germany till October 20, citing “unexpected rejection” of its flight schedule by the Indian authorities.

“Flights between India & Germany recommence under air bubble arrangement. Lufthansa will operate from Delhi (4 days), Mumbai (3 days) & Bengaluru (3 days). @airindiain will operate 5 weekly flights from Delhi & 2 every week from Bengaluru to Frankfurt,” Puri said in a tweet. While announcing cancellation of its air services from September 30, Lufthansa had said it had applied for continuation of special flights it was allowed to operate until the end of September.

Aviation safety regulator DGCA, however, said, “As against Indian carriers operating 3-4 flights a week, Lufthansa operated 20 flights a week. In spite of this disparity we offered to clear 7 flights a week for Lufthansa which was not accepted by them.” It, however, continued negotiations over the issues, resulting in resumption of services between the two countries.

Scheduled international flights have been suspended in India since March 23 due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, special international passenger flights have been operating in India under the ‘Vande Bharat Mission’ since May and under bilateral air bubble arrangements formed between India and other countries since July.

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