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India Market Updates: Sept 2020

Poonam Makhija
September 10, 2020
Posted in: COVID-19, India, Travel Trade

September 2020

  • India is opening its skies to a number of airlines through air bubbles with the US, UK, France, Germany, Maldives, Canada, Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE. Air bubbles are temporary bilateral arrangements between two countries aimed at restarting commercial passenger services. They allow citizens to travel freely between specified nations without having to undergo on-arrival quarantine.
  • SpiceJet, a low cost Indian carrier, has secured slots at Heathrow AirportLondon, and is operating flights as of September 1. The air bubble between India and the UK will remain in effect through October 23, the end of the summer schedule. SpiceJet is working to secure additional slots for the winter schedule and plan for the restart of normal operations.
  • Vistara, a full-service Indian carrier, secured slots at London Heathrow and is preparing to restart operations. Paris and Frankfurt are two likely additions to the airline’s schedule.
  • The Embassies of Spain and Slovakia have agreed to issue ‘Gratis Visas’ to all Indians who were issued a visa earlier this year, but could not travel due to the pandemic.
  • In August, Adventures Overland announced the “first-ever hop-on/hop-off bus service between Delhi and London”, named “Bus to London“. The travellers will cover 18 countries and 20,000 km in 70 days. People taking this tour will travel through Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and France.
  • Make My Trip launched a new dedicated platform called myPartner for travel agents. This platform gives access to Make My Trip’s inventory of 77,000 hotels. These hotels include properties in tier-3, 4 and 5 cities.
  • As travel from India picks up, business travel and Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFR) will take the lead followed by leisure.

Key Takeaways:

  • International travel has resumed though on a very small scale through the bubble arrangement
  • New airlines from India are starting operations to fly overseas
  • Visiting Friends and Relatives traffic has already started moving internationally
  • Domestic travel, particularly within the drive market, is gaining popularity

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