On August 10, 2020, India and Oman established an “air bubble” agreement, allowing travel between the two countries amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. This agreement marks the first such bubble for Oman and the 13th for India.
The air bubble agreement creates a separate channel for commercial passenger flights between India and Oman, which means that only select airlines from each country are allowed to operate flights under this arrangement. For instance, Indian carriers Air India and IndiGo, and Oman`s national airline, Oman Air, are currently the only airlines permitted under this agreement.
This agreement comes at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted the aviation industry, leading to a halt in international travel across the world. However, with this agreement, Indian and Omani citizens stranded in either country can return home.
India has similar air bubble agreements with several other countries, including the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Germany, and France, among others. These agreements aim to facilitate travel for individuals who need to travel for work, study, or other essential reasons.
Under the agreement, a passenger traveling from India to Oman must carry proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken no later than 96 hours before departure. Furthermore, all passengers will undergo thermal screening upon arrival and need to install Oman`s Tarassud+ mobile application for contact tracing purposes.
The air bubble agreement between India and Oman is a positive development for both countries, as it offers a much-needed respite to citizens stranded abroad due to the pandemic. With the right safety measures in place, such as mandatory testing and contact tracing, this agreement could be a stepping stone for reviving the aviation industry while ensuring public health and safety.