New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Normalisation of international flight services is expected 'very soon' by end of this year, Civil Aviation Secretary Rajiv Bansal said on Wednesday.

This comes after all international flights, except those on repatriation missions and carrying essential goods, like medicines and food were grounded in March last year, as the country went into a Covid lockdown.

The restrictions were eased after the number of cases dropped in the country and the vaccination coverage increased. The government also made 'air bubble' arrangement negotiations with other countries. India currently has 25 such deals.

For the unversed, under an air bubble arrangement, international passenger flights can be operated by member countries' respective carriers into each other's territories, subject to certain conditions.

Earlier, the Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said the government was evaluating the process of normalising international flight operations. "I am all for regaining our space in the civil aviation arena in the world and making a hub in India and for more wide body aircraft. We will get there but bear with me and trust me... I am on your side. We will work together but in a safe environment," he said at a public event.

Airlines were initially allowed to operate a maximum of 33 per cent of all pre-Covid routes. The cap was gradually increased to 80 per cent by December last year. Occupancy rates were reduced to 50 per cent in June this year, after the country was hit by a second wave of infections and deaths.

(With inputs from PTI)

Posted By: Sugandha Jha