In a major relief to thousands of Indian expatriates, the Indian embassy in Saudi Arabia on Friday announced the air bubble arrangement between India and Saudi Arabia, starting from January 1, 2022.
The embassy of India in Saudi Arabia took to Twitter and wrote, “Embassy is pleased to announce air bubble arrangement between India and Saudi Arabia with effect from January 1st, 2022.”
Under the new air bubble agreement, airlines will now be able to operate services between the two countries in compliance with COVID regulations.
Under this air bubble agreement, both Indian and Saudi Arabian carriers are allowed to operate flights between India and Saudi Arabia, and carry the following categories of persons on such flights:
Nationals/residents of Saudi Arabia; any Indian national or national of Nepal or Bhutan holding a valid visa of Saudi Arabia and destined for Saudi Arabia only. It would be for the airlines concerned to ensure that there is no travel restriction for Indian/Nepalese/Bhutanese nationals to enter Saudi Arabia before issue of ticket/boarding pass to the Indian/Nepalese /Bhutanese passenger.
International passenger flights are currently being operated in a restricted manner under bilateral air bubble arrangements with various countries.
It is worth mentioning here that earlier on December 2, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Minister of Civil Aviation told Lok Sabha that India has sent a proposal to Saudi Arabia and nine other countries for operating flights under the air bubble agreement.
India suspended international flight operations, effective March 23, 2020. This was periodically extended every month till November 30, before the government on November 26 announced plans to resume scheduled international flight services.
However, on December 1, the Indian government announced that it had rolled back plans to resume scheduled international flight operations from December 15, but later the DGCA of India has postponed the opening of scheduled international flights amid the concern of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
Major economies across the world have rushed to take precautionary measures after scientists said they had found a highly virulent and possibly vaccine-resistant variant of the COVID-19 virus in South Africa.
On December 20, the Indian Embassy in Saudi Arabia has announced that the country has approved the Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin for travel and Indian nationals vaccinated with ‘Covaxin’ can now enter the Kingdom.
“Embassy is pleased to inform that Indian nationals vaccinated with ‘Covaxin’ are now approved to enter the Kingdom. Vaccine certificates are to be uploaded at the Ministry of Health website for residents and at the Muqeem website for visitors.”