Air bubble arrangement between Bangladesh and India inaugurated! After months of lockdown and suspension of flights, the air bubble between India and Bangladesh was inaugurated by High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh Vikram Doraiswami and Bangladesh’s Civil Aviation Authority Chairman Air Vice Marshal Mafidur Rahman on Wednesday at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka.
To mark the resumption of the air travel arrangements, two flights operated by US-Bangla Airlines left from Dhaka to Kolkata and Chennai. The news is set to come as a relief to the nationals of Bangladesh, who have been requesting urgent access to India, especially for medical purposes, reports financialexpress.com.
Speaking at the occasion, Doraiswami said that most tourists from Bangladesh head to India, especially for medical purposes. The resumption of the bilateral travel arrangements would help such tourists and also aid in furthering friendly ties between the two nations, he added.
India-Bangladesh air bubble: Destinations
From Bangladesh, three airlines would be operating. These are US-Bangla Airlines, NovoAir and Biman Bangladesh. From the Indian side, five carriers, including GoAir, IndiGo, Air India, Vistara and SpiceJet, would be operating flights to Bangladesh.
Flights from Bangladesh would originate from Dhaka and arrive at Chennai, Delhi and Kolkata, while Indian flights would be flying to Dhaka from Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai.
Air bubble between India and Bangladesh: Guidelines
As per the guidelines for air travel mentioned on the website of High Commission of India to Bangladesh, the following passengers would be allowed to travel from Bangladesh to India:
Bangladeshi nationals: At present, the Bangladesh nationals would be able to apply for all the existing visas except for tourist visas. Other than that, Diplomatic or official Bangladesh passport holders would be exempted from needing a visa to travel to India, in accordance with the existing bilateral agreements.
- All Indian nationals
- OCI cardholders
Apart from that, the following instructions must be adhered to:
- Passengers would have to submit a self-reporting form, available on the Air Suvidha portal of the Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi website. This form must be submitted at least 3 days, ie, 72 hours before the date of travel.
- Passengers would also need to submit an undertaking confirming that they would undergo 14 days of mandatory quarantine after arriving in India. Of these, 7 days would mandatorily be institutional quarantine, the cost of which would need to be borne by the passengers themselves. The remaining 7 days of isolation would be at home, with proper self-monitoring of health.
- In order to seek exemption from institutional quarantine, passengers would have to be among these categories – pregnant women, death in the family, parents accompanied by children below 10 years of age, serious illness (for which description must be provided), or negative certificate for COVID-19 test (only RT-PCR). To seek exemption, passengers must apply at the Air Suvidha portal at least 72 hours before boarding, and the government’s decision, communicated via online portal, would be final.
- To seek exemption using RT-PCR test, passengers must ensure that the test is taken within 96 hours before departure from the origin. The test certificate should be attached in the Air Suvidha portal at least 72 hours before departure. However, in case the certificate is not available due to the result being awaited, then passengers can apply at the portal. In this case, they must attach proof of the test having been conducted and mention that they are awaiting the result. They must carry the certificate with them and show it after arriving at the airport.
- The passengers granted institutional quarantine exemption would be able to travel in public transport, including domestic flights, to reach their destinations.
Meanwhile, as per guidelines available on the website of Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh, all passengers arriving in Bangladesh would have to adhere to the following guidelines:
- Passengers would be given health declaration form and passenger locator form while on board the flight. They must fill these forms and either return it to the designated person or submit them at the immigration desk.
- If a passenger feels feverish during travel or is found to have fever during thermal screening upon arrival in Bangladesh, they must follow cough etiquette and inform the authorities. The passenger would then be taken to the designated hospital.
- A healthy passenger would be allowed to go home, where they would have to quarantine for 14 days. The authority advises such passengers to use private vehicles to reach the final destination, if possible. Over the period of isolation, the passenger must wash their hands regularly and frequently, only leave the house for essential purposes and avoid any public gathering. Wearing a mask during the outing is mandatory.
- In case, the passenger develops any symptoms of COVID-19 during the period of home isolation, they must inform IEDCR through the hotlines or go to the nearest government hospital wearing a mask.