India and Russia Started Air Travel Bubble Agreement

What is a “travel bubble?

Travel bubbles, also called travel bridges or corona corridors, do away with that waiting period for a select group of travelers from certain countries where the coronavirus has been contained. “In a ‘travel bubble’ a set of countries agree to open their borders to each other, but keep borders to all other countries closed. So people can move freely within the bubble, but cannot enter from the outside.

How does it work?

Travel bubbles do require a certain amount of faith and trust in partner countries and their ability to contain the virus, including widespread testing, contact tracing and effective quarantining. That’s why Block notes that the easiest time to form a bubble “is when two countries have no more cases” and thus, very low risk in allowing travelers from the other country.

India has now entered into an air travel bubble with Russia, which started yesterday – February 17, 2021. According to the new air bubble between the two countries, air carriers of both these countries are permitted to operate flights to and from them. Even though India had banned international flights in March last year, there has been a growing number of air travel bubbles between the country and other nations.

It is important to understand the categories of persons allowed to travel, and the rules that are in play for such an air travel bubble.

If you are flying from India to Russia, you must be a stranded national, or resident of Russia. The other possibility is that Indian nationals, or nationals of Nepal, or Bhutan with valid visa of Russia will be permitted to fly. However, the airlines need to ensure that there are no restrictions to travel for such India, Nepales, or Bhutanese citizens to enter the country. This should be looked into during the booking process, or issuing of boarding passes.

All seamen of foreign nationalities, and those holding Indian passports must have their destination as Russia only. They will only be allowed after getting a clearance from the Ministry of Shipping.

On the other hand, those travelling from Russia to India need to ensure that they are stranded Indian nationals, or citizens of Nepal, or Bhutan. People holding Overseas Citizen of India (OCI), and Person of Indian Origin (PIO) cards with passports of other countries will also be permitted.

Those Russian citizens who require to visit India for any purpose, including their dependants on the right category of dependent visa, other than Tourist Visa. Also, seamen from countries of Russia, would be permitted.

Moscow to Delhi flights by Russian carrier Aeroflot will begin operations from February 12, on Sundays, and Fridays. The return flights will be available on Saturdays, and Mondays each week.

Bear in mind that those travelling from India to Russia should be destined for Russia only, and vice versa.

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