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India-Bangladesh flights to resume soon

Visa applications centers open today

Published : 10 Aug 2021 09:59 PM

Bangladesh Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has proposed to start flights to India. The Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation has reportedly agreed to the proposal.

Commercial flights between the two countries have been suspended for about four months. If all goes well, flights between the two countries are expected to resume this week under bilateral air bubble management.

Furthermore, the Indian Visa Application Center is reopening due to lifting of the lockdown restrictions. The centers will open today (August 11), according to the Indian High Commission. The Indian High Commission in Dhaka said in a message posted on Facebook on Tuesday.

"Our Indian visa application centers will be reopened from August 11. Applicants do not need an appointment or permission to apply for a visa. All visa applications except tourist visa will be accepted,” said the message.

There are 15 Indian Visa Application Centers (IVACs) in Bangladesh managed by State Bank of India. They are located in Dhaka (Jamuna Future Park), Jessore, Khulna, Mymensingh, Barisal, Chittagong, Sylhet, Rajshahi, Rangpur, Thakurgaon, Satkhira, Bogra, Noakhali, Brahmanbaria and Comilla.

Earlier last week, Bangladesh's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) proposed to start flights to India. According to sources, the ministry had finally agreed to the proposal after scrutinizing various aspects.

The ministry is also holding discussions with Indian airlines on when it will be possible to resume commercial flights to Dhaka and Chittagong.

Bangladesh High Commissioner to Delhi Mohammad Imran told media that the proposal was to resume flights under the air bubble system from August 11. A date was yet to be finalized in consultation with the Indian authorities.

Sources in Delhi indicate that although the 11th is not possible, efforts are being made to speed up the process and start this week.

Indian airlines like Vistara, SpiceJet, Indigo or Air India, which used to operate regular flights to Dhaka or Chittagong, have also been asked regarding how soon they will be able to resume operations in Bangladesh.

Earlier, in March last year, shortly after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, flights between India and Bangladesh were abruptly halted. The two countries then flew several special flights to bring back their stranded citizens to other countries.

Regular flights between the two countries resumed through air bubble management in late October 2020. However, the service was shut down again in April 2021 after the devastating second wave hit India.

Bangladesh also decided to close land ports with India in the last week of April to prevent the transmission of Delta variants from India. That ban is still in place and Bangladeshi nationals stranded in India have to get special permission from the embassy to return home.