India Has Resumed International Commercial Flights
India has allowed regularly scheduled international commercial flights to resume flying to the country for the first time in more than two years, the country's Ministry of Tourism announced on Sunday.
Commercial international passenger flights were allowed to begin again on March 27, according to the ministry, after the country initially suspended them on March 23, 2020.
The ministry said in a statement the decision "has been hailed and warmly [met] by all the travel industry stakeholders of the country." Shri Rajeev Mehra, the president of the Indian Association of Tour Operators, said in the statement the flight options would increase tourist traffic to India.
The resumption of commercial flights comes months after India had begun issuing tourist visas to foreigners who arrived on a charter flight, the ministry noted.
All travelers to India must show either proof of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of their trip, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Travelers must also complete a self-declaration form online before traveling.
India has seen a dramatic drop in COVID-19 cases since January, Reuters reported, and an even more dramatic drop since the spring of 2021 when the delta variant first emerged there. The country has vaccinated just over 60.6% of its population, according to Johns Hopkins' Coronavirus Resource Center.
On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lowered India to a "Level 1" travel warning, indicating a "low" level of COVID-19 transmission in the country. The agency still recommends travelers "Make sure you are vaccinated and up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines before traveling to India."
India's easing of flight restrictions comes as countries all around the world are rolling back pandemic-related protocols, including some that have done away with restrictions altogether like Iceland, Ireland, and the United Kingdom.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.