Corporate Newsletter April 2022 v.1

April 08, 2022

In major news since our last update, many countries have relaxed their entry rules and dropped pre-departure testing and quarantine requirements. With the resumption of scheduled international flights from March 27, Singapore Airlines introduces a double daily flight from Mumbai to Singapore, Qatar Airways offers 95 weekly flights from 12 cities in India, Qantas offers more connections to Australia via the Far East through its airline partners. These and many more updates in the 1st edition of April Travel Updates.

New flight launch announcements in the summer schedule:

Finnair launches Mumbai-Helsinki direct flight; services to start from July

Finland's flag carrier Finnair will connect Helsinki with India’s financial capital Mumbai with a direct flight, starting July this year. Mumbai will be the airline's second destination in India after Delhi, where it has been flying since 2006.

The to-be launched flight on the Mumbai-Helsinki route and vice versa will be open for bookings from April 5 onwards. The airline will fly this sector three times a week - on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday.

LOT Polish Airlines to resume Delhi-Warsaw operations from March 29:

LOT Polish Airlines has announced the resumption of Warsaw-Delhi operations beginning March 29, 2022. The airlines will resume with three weekly frequencies to start with and increase it to five weekly departures beginning May 2, 2022.

The airline will reinstate their Warsaw-Mumbai service from May 31 with two weekly frequencies in the summer schedule. Like all LOT Polish Airlines long-haul routes, the airline will service the India - Poland route using the Boeing 787 fleet.

Nepal Airlines to resume Mumbai-Kathmandu flights from March 27:

Nepal Airlines has resumed its Mumbai-Kathmandu flights from March 27, more than two years after the coronavirus outbreak disrupted international travel. The airline will operate three weekly flights on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday with Airbus 320 on its Mumbai-Kathmandu-Mumbai route.

Update on travel relaxations announced by countries in the last 15 days:

With Covid-19 cases decreasing in many parts of the world, countries are slowly opening their borders for travellers and removing quarantine restrictions. Here is an updated list of countries that have scrapped either pre-departure RT-PCR testing or quarantine requirements on arrival or both.

In addition, some countries are also allowing entry for all tourists, regardless of whether they are vaccinated or not, to enter the country. The pre-departure and on arrival RT-PCR testing continues for non-vaccinated travellers.

France: Fully vaccinated travellers arriving from 'green' countries can now enter France just by presenting their vaccination certificate. There is no pre-departure or on arrival RT-PCR test required anymore. India has been included in the 'green' list of countries as of last month.

Indonesia: The country ended its quarantine restrictions for all incoming vaccinated foreign nationals with effect from 21 March. However, a negative COVID-19 test result is still a requirement for entering the country.

Even Vietnam - 'Land of the Ascending Dragon,' scrapped all quarantine requirements on March 15 but visitors need to provide a negative COVID-19 test prior to entry into the country.

The popular island nation of Mauritius removed the mandatory PCR test requirements for fully vaccinated travellers from March 15 onwards. As per the country’s new rules, they will no longer have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 result taken within 72 hours prior departure.

United Kingdom: International arrivals into the UK from March 18 onwards are no longer required to submit travel details or take a PCR test even if they are unvaccinated. The change would remove the remaining rules in place for unvaccinated passengers to take a pre-departure test and another test, two days after arrival.

Even the government of South Korea has removed the seven-day self-quarantine mandate beginning 21 March. However, you will still need to take the rapid antigen tests on the sixth and the seventh days after entering the country - as required by its health department.

The Swedish Government has announced that the entry ban ends on March 31 which means that no corona specific entry restrictions will be in effect from April 1, 2022. Regular rules for entry to Sweden will then be applied.

South Africa has relaxed some of its remaining COVID-19 restrictions, dropping mandatory negative results for inbound fully-vaccinated travellers. However unvaccinated travellers will still have to take a RT-PCR test within 72 hours of travel. The new rules are effective from March 29 onwards.

Singapore too eased the restrictions by allowing fully vaccinated travellers quarantine free entry into Singapore without any on-arrival test with effect from April 1. As a result, Singapore Airlines and Scoot will no longer designate specific Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) flights from India after April 1.

Short-term visitors to Singapore have to purchase travel insurance with a minimum coverage of $30,000 for Covid-19 related medical treatment and hospitalisation costs, prior to travel to Singapore.

Travellers aged 12 and below are exempt from being vaccinated and can enter Singapore quarantine free without the need to be accompanied by a vaccinated adult.

Canada: Starting April 1, 2022, pre-entry tests are no longer required for fully vaccinated travellers entering Canada by land, air or water. You must still pre-fill the information required in the ArriveCAN app within 72 hours before your arrival to Canada.

Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated children 5 years of age or older must provide a valid pre-entry RT-PCR test result, even if they are accompanied by a fully vaccinated adult. Children who are less than 5 years old are not required to test, regardless of their vaccination status.

Hungary: From March 7, the government has abolished all entry restrictions to Hungary. This means that air travelers can enter Hungary, without a vaccination certificate, a certificate of recovery or a negative PCR test.

At the airport, only the normal non-Schengen border controls are carried out; all epidemiological controls have been lifted. Accordingly, passengers arriving from Schengen countries can enter the country unimpeded, without any documentary checks, while passengers arriving from non-Schengen countries are only subject to controls regarding the conditions of entry.

Thailand: Starting April 1, travellers entering Thailand will no longer need to take a PCR Covid-19 test prior to travel but will still need to take a PCR test once they land.

Hong Kong: The ban on flights to HK from nine countries - Australia, Canada, France, India, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Britain and the U.S. - has been lifted from April 1. Travellers to Hong Kong have to quarantine for seven days in designated quarantine hotels - down from 14 days earlier. Only after testing negative for the virus on the sixth and seventh days of their quarantine, travellers will be allowed to enter the city. In addition, travellers must also be fully vaccinated and test negative for the coronavirus before entering the city.

Australia: With effect on April 17, fully vaccinated travellers to Australia no longer need to take an RT-PCR test prior to travel to Australia. Currently, travel to Australia is only open to fully vaccinated travellers.

Czech Republic eases travel restrictions for fully vaccinated Indian travellers who can travel to the Czech Republic with an EU digital Covid certificate (Indian Vaccination Certificate is recognised by the EU) which is valid for 14-270 days after the completion of the second vaccination dose (Covishield). Otherwise, you are considered non-vaccinated and need to arrive with negative PCR test and take another one within 5 - 7 days after arrival.

The Philippines has opened its borders to fully vaccinated tourists from all countries from April 1 onwards. Arriving passengers need to submit a negative laboratory-based antigen test result taken within 24 hours from departure. This replaces the initial requirement of a negative RT-PCR test taken 48 hours prior to departure from the point of origin.

The resumption of visa issuance by Philippine embassies and consulates will also start on April 1 to coincide with total removal of arrival quotas.

Malaysia to reopen borders for fully vaxxed travellers on April 1:

Malaysia has opened its borders for tourism from April 1 for fully vaccinated travellers without any quarantine requirements. Fully vaxxed travellers have to carry a negative RT-PCR test within 48 hours prior to travel and will be required to take another COVID-19 Rapid Test Kit-Antigen (RTK-Ag) test within 24 hours after arrival.

Air Asia (Malaysia) has launched flights from multiple cities in India namely Bangalore, Kochi, Hyderabad, Chennai and Tiruchirappalli to Kuala Lumpur from April 1. Please contact our travel consultants for your travel plans to Malaysia.

Indigo resumes flights to Ranchi and Thiruvananthapuram from Pune:

Indigo resumes direct flights to Ranchi and Thiruvananthapuram from Pune with effect from March 27 as per the below schedule:

Indigo also announced new domestic flights across the country in their summer schedule.
Click here for details.

Indigo also announced via-flights to various destinations in the country for better connectivity.
Click here for details.

SpiceJet's launches new flights to Jaipur and Chennai from Pune:

As part of the summer schedule, SpiceJet launches new direct flights to Jaipur and Chennai from Pune as per the below schedule from March 27:

Indigo's international travel update:

Indigo launches flights to Muscat from Mumbai & Kochi:

Indigo will be launching direct flights between Mumbai & Kochi to Muscat with effect from 25th April with the following schedule:

Indigo launches flights Kathmandu from Mumbai and Delhi:

Indigo launches flights Kathmandu from Mumbai and Delhi with effect from 27th April with the following schedule:

Indigo launches flight operations to Thailand from 15th March:

The direct flights will connect Bangkok with Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, and Bengaluru, and Phuket with Delhi and Mumbai.

Indigo revises change fees as follows w.e.f from April 1:

Qatar Airways announces summer schedule to Doha from 12 cities in India:

Qatar Airways announces summer schedule to Doha from 12 cities in India with 95 weekly flights from the following destinations:

Singapore Airlines to operate double daily flights from Mumbai:

Singapore Airlines to operate double daily flights from Mumbai to Singapore with the following schedule with effect from March 28:

*With effect from March 28, 2022; SQ 422/SQ 421 will be operated by an A350 aircraft.

Lufthansa announces the schedule from April. To resume Chennai - Frankfurt flights:

Here is the Lufthansa flight schedule between India and Frankfurt, Munich and Zurich (Swiss Air) for the month of April ‘22 in line with the resumption of scheduled commercial flights.

Lufthansa will operate Boeing 747-800 on Delhi - Frankfurt route from April. The Boeing B747-800 with its comfort and efficiency, offers 8 seats in First Class, 80 in Business class, 32 in Premium Economy and 244 in Economy class.

Lufthansa also introduces flights between Chennai - Frankfurt with effect from May 2 with the following schedule:

Qantas Update: Flights to Australia via Far - East:

Along with the direct Delhi - Melbourne operations, Qantas has enabled flight options to Australia from Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Trivandrum and Cochin via Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur with partner airlines like Thai Airways, Malaysian Airlines and Sri Lankan Airlines.

Odyssey in the News:

European Union vaccination rule makes boosters must
There has been a huge increase in travel enquiries to Europe this summer, but many Indians are simply unable to proceed with their plans due to a critical vaccination rule.

Most European Union countries have decided that to be considered "fully vaccinated", the last dose should’ve been within 270 days of travel. That effectively makes a booster shot mandatory for a large part of Europe this summer. But no age groups in India - except for the 60-plus - are currently eligible for the booster or precaution doses.

The requirement has led to considerable travel disruption. "It's proving to be a massive bottleneck for travel to Europe," said Nikhil Thakurdas, CEO, Odyssey Tours and Travels. Read More

Summer travel enquiries surge 100%, reach pre-pandemic levels

For the first time since March 2020, summer travel enquiries have surged 100 % - reaching 2019 or pre-pandemic levels, tour companies told TOI.

Nikhil Thakurdas, CEO of Odyssey Tours and Travels, said, "After two consecutive summers in lockdown, 2022 will have the first summer in three years where people can travel without worrying about a Covid wave or quarantine restrictions, a major factor fuelling 'rebound tourism'. Vaccinated Indians now have a choice of travel to overseas destinations. Singapore Airlines has converted all flights from India as vaccinated travel lane (VTL) flights for quarantine-free travel." Read More