Some members of a parliamentary panel on Friday expressed concern over high cost of international air travel and suggested to the Civil Aviation Ministry to consider resuming scheduled international passenger flights as the entire world is opening up after the Covid-19-induced closure, sources said. The members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture also questioned top officials of the ministry over rising prices of international flights, the sources said.
The pandemic-induced suspension of scheduled international passenger flights, which started in March 23, has been extended till November 30. However, special international flights have been operating under the Vande Bharat Mission since May 2020 and under bilateral “air bubble” arrangements with around 28 countries since July 2020.
Civil Aviation Secretary Rajiv Bansal, the Director General of Civil Aviation and the Chairman of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) deposed before the parliamentary panel on Friday. Some panel members from different parties questioned them about high prices of international flights, and food and beverage not being served in domestic flights of a duration less than two hours, the sources said. Several MPs specifically suggested them to resume international flights as the world is opening up after increasing vaccination against Covid-19. The officials responded that they will look into the matter, sources said. The MPs also asked them on what basis the number of international flights to be allowed to one specific country is decided as the demand for international travel is on the rise, they said.