Here’s how Vande Bharat and air bubbles are keeping Indian aviation connected to the world

In January 2022, an average of 50,000 passengers departed India on a daily basis, while 36,000 arrived. All of this was on the 300 or so flights operated in the international sector, either under an air-bubble arrangement or the Vande Bharat Mission. Over half of these are operated by foreign carriers.

The period since March 2020 has been different and difficult. India headed into a total lockdown, like many other countries in the world. What followed was a frenzy to get Indians back from across the world in what became known as the Vande Bharat Mission.

As knowledge about the virus evolved, the rules kept changing — from having a separate quarantine facility for those who landed from Wuhan to home quarantine and / or testing on arrival, things changed rapidly.

While the Vande Bharat Mission (VBM) continued, country after country raised the issue of Air India using the evacuation or repatriation mission for commercial operations and thus was born the air bubble.

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