Monday, December 06, 2021 | Jumada al-ula 1, 1443 H
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More airlines needed to meet surge in demand

With India extending the ban on commercial international flights, scheduled services between Oman and the South Asian country will continue to be limited. It means fewer seats and sky-high ticket rates for inbound flights.

The demand for seats is expected to go up following the lifting of the ban on expatriates. Travelers and travel agents expect authorities to allow more airlines to meet the surge in demand.

Airlines now fly under an air bubble agreement with only national carriers and without other airlines from India such as Indigo, GoAir, and SpiceJet. There are no daily flights even on popular routes due to restrictions.

“With Oman to issue all types of visas, including tourist visas, from Wednesday, and more people are likely to travel between both countries in the coming days. Hopefully, some changes will be noticed as travel becomes regular and easy,” said sources in the aviation sector.

India on Sunday extended the ban on regular international commercial flights till September 30 due to the pandemic. India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said that international cargo flights and those approved by the regulator will continue to operate.

Regular international flights have remained suspended since March 23, 2020, to check the spread of Covid-19.

The restrictions were later eased for certain countries with which India has had an air bubble arrangement during the past year. The air bubble agreements allow the operation of special international flights by the national carrier between their territories.

India was considering lifting the restrictions on international commercial flights on August 31, but the ban was extended as a threat of a third wave of infections looms large.

As per the rules, flights are allowed for Indians nationals holding valid residency permits of the sultanate and destined for Oman only.

“It will be for the airlines concerned to ensure the Indian nationals are eligible to enter Oman before issue of ticket/ boarding pass to the Indian passenger,” the statement said.

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