On Sunday (5th July) Air India made an announcement regarding the Vande Bharat Mission. It announced that between 11th July and 19th July the airlines will open 36 flights to passengers between the USA and India.
The announcement comes following the Trump administration's hard stance against Indian carriers operating in the country.
Air India opens 36 flights between USA and India
In a move that comes as a relief to Indians stranded in the USA following the pandemic, Air India has announced 36 flights that will carry passengers between India and the USA. Tickets will go on sale for the flight starting 20:00 hours (IST) on 6th July on the airlines' website, equivalent to New York (EDT 1030 hrs of 6' July 2020), Chicago (CDT 0930 hrs of 6 July 2020) & San Francisco (PDT 0730 hrs of 6 July 2020).
On 22nd June the USA government had restricted Indian carriers from operating as part of the Vande Bharat Mission without prior approval from the US government. The move was made in response to India restricting US carriers from operating in India in light of the pandemic.
The Aviation Ministry on 23rd June announced that it would consider creating 'bilateral bubbles' with countries US, UK, Germany and France allowing all international flights in each country under the pact to operate.
In the 4th phase of the Vande Bharat Mission which began on 3rd July, Air India will be operating 170 flights connecting India with Canada, the US, the UK, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Kyrgyzstan, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Thailand, South Africa, Russia, Australia, Myanmar, Japan, Ukraine and Vietnam.
Even though domestic air travel resumed on May 25th in the country, international air travel still remains suspended. In Unlock 2.0 international travel has been allowed under Vande Bharat Mission and further reopening will occur slowly in a curtailed manner.