India will restart international flights only once its domestic traffic reaches 50-60% of pre-Covid-19 levels, and that other countries loosen travel restrictions, India’s civil aviation minister has said.

“We can start regular international flights when our domestic traffic reaches about 50-60%, [and] other countries open up to international traffic without present conditionalities,” said Hardeep Singh Puri in a 21 June tweet.

“Once the situation evolves in that direction we will consider a calibrated opening.”

The Indian government currently restricts airlines to operating at up to 30% of pre-pandemic capacity. In a CNBC-TV18 interview that was published on 15 June, Indian budget carrier IndiGo’s chief executive Ronojoy Dutta urged the government to “move that 30% cap up to 50%”. He added that it is “time to reduce the international restrictions”.

Civil aviation minister Puri also tweeted that on 20 June, the 27th day since domestic operations restarted in India, the country’s airports handled 70,552 passengers.

India resumed domestic flights on 25 May, after a two-month suspension, when India entered into its first coronavirus lockdown. International passenger flights remain banned.

Meanwhile, India’s neighbour Bangladesh resumed international flights on 21 June after a three-month suspension.