International flights depend on Omicron cases: Scindia


India has some 12 countries on its ‘at-risk’ list. Passengers arriving from these countries are tested at the airport and have to quarantine at home for seven days.

ByNeha Tripathi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

The Omicron variant of Covid-19 has triggered concern over international travel across the world, civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said on Tuesday, leading to fresh travel restrictions in several countries, including India.

“International travel is completely dependent on the spread of the Omicron variant,” Scindia said. “Prior to Covid, our highest capacity was close to 4.2 lakh passengers daily. Now we are ranging between 3.7 lakh to 3.95 lakh. We currently have a seat load factor ranging from 75- 81%, which is a healthy factor.”

The minister added: “Keeping this in mind, I was looking at opening up international travel, but the world got hit by Omicron, which has been raging virulently and violently across the world, and we decided to contain international exposure again.” India has put 12 regions, including all of Europe, on its “at-risk” list. Passengers arriving from these areas are tested at the airport and have to quarantine at home for seven days.

“We are working closely with the health ministry. When we get over Omicron, we can go back to normalcy, but I cannot give you a date today. We must put the health of our citizens at the top of our priority list amid the new concerns,” Scindia said.

He was speaking at a partnership summit organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry in association with the department for promotion of industry and internal trade of the commerce ministry.

Speaking on the privatisation of Air India, Scindia said the transaction was a win-win situation for everyone. He said that the ministry and Centre is developing an ecosystem that includes maintenance, repair and overhaul of aircraft, leasing of planes, drones, helicopters and aerospace manufacturing.

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