Government signs air travel bubble arrangement with India

An interim measure until normal international flights resume

Staff Reporter

An air travel bubble arrangement has been agreed between Bhutan and India to enable flight operations between the two countries until the resumption of normal international flights.

According to a press release from the foreign ministry, under the agreement, Drukair operated its first flight to Bagdogra on October 1. Drukair will operate one flight each to Delhi and Kolkata, and one flight to Bagdogra/Guwahati a week hereafter.

Travellers would be subject to strict adherence to the mandatory quarantine and other Covid-19 related health protocols put in place by the two governments.

All foreigners entering Bhutan must produce a Covid-19 negative certificate at the time of boarding and port of arrival. However, migrant workers from India should produce a negative certificate on rapid antigen test if they do not have access to RT-PCR testing.

The RT-PCR test must be carried out from a certified laboratory, but not earlier than 72 hours (three days) prior to leaving the country of origin.

All Bhutanese and foreigners arriving in the country must undergo the 21-day mandatory quarantine and testing as per existing protocols of the health ministry.

The cost of quarantine and testing and/or medical treatment, if required, for foreigners have to be borne by themselves. Bhutanese returning home for the first time are not required to bear such costs.

However, Bhutanese who exited Bhutan on their own volition during the pandemic after signing the ‘Undertaking Form’ with the foreign ministry have to bear the costs of quarantine and testing as stipulated in the form when they return to Bhutan.

According to the press release, all travellers entering India should submit a self-declaration form along with a negative RT-PCR test certificate on the online portal (www.newdelhiairport.in) at least 72 hours before the scheduled travel.

Travellers may seek exemption from institutional quarantine by submitting a negative RT-PCR test report on arrival.

The test should have been conducted within 96 hours prior to undertaking the journey. Test report should be uploaded on the portal for consideration. The test report could also be produced upon arrival at the point of entry airport in India.

Bhutan Airlines also intends to begin operations in the near future, according to the press release. Both the airlines would also have the right to cancel or reschedule flights.

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