New Delhi: Scheduled international flights, which have been suspended since the advent of the covid-19 pandemic in 2020, could resume by the end of the year, civil aviation secretary Rajiv Bansal told reporters on Wednesday.

“It is a work in progress,” he told Mint.

As things stand, scheduled international flights remain suspended at least till 30 November, according to a notification by civil aviation regulator the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) last month.

However, special flights, repatriation flights and flights under air bubble agreements are allowed to operate.

India currently has air bubble agreements with as many as 30 countries, which includes the likes of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Canada, France, Germany, Iraq, Japan, Kenya, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Sri Lanka, the UAE, the UK, and the US, among the others.

Civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia recently said that the government is keen to resume normal international travel operations and is evaluating the process.

“We are coming back to normalcy. First, we allowed 100% passenger capacity in our domestic flights and now we allowed in-flight meals in those flights,” Scindia said at the Confederation of Indian Industry’s (CII’s) Global Economy Policy Summit recently.

On Wednesday, speaking at the annual session and AGM of the Indian Chamber of Commerce, Scindia said the government has set a target of raising the number of Indian airports to 220 by 2025 from 136 at present.

“So far in a period of seven years, 62 airports have been built as against building 74 airports in 70 years. The target is to build 220 airports by 2025 that includes heliports and water ports as well,” he said.

He also added that the government is​ scouting for a location in Kolkata for a second aerodrome.

“Our metro airports are pretty much bursting at seams, and with close to seven and half (7.5) crore travelers in Delhi, almost five crores in Mumbai, four crores in Bengaluru and two and half (2.5) crore in Hyderabad, we need to look at new airports in all our metros,” Scindia added.

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