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In wake of a spike in coronavirus cases across several states in India, the DGCA on Friday announced the extension of the suspension of international commercial passenger flight services till March 31.
— DGCA (@DGCAIndia) February 26, 2021
The suspension of international passenger flights had been put in order on March 23, 2020, when COVID-19 first hit India. This ban was scheduled to be called off on February 28, 2021.
However, international flights to and fro from countries with which India has an “air travel bubble”— Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bahrain, Ethiopia, Canada, Germany, France, Japan, Iraq, Kuwait, Kenya, Nepal, Maldives, the Netherlands, Oman, Nigeria, Rwanda, Qatar, the Seychelles, Ukraine, Tanzania, the UAE, Uzbekistan, the UK, and the United States of America—will continue to operate as it has all this while. Other than this, flights under the Vande Bharat Mission, which had been green-lit in May last year, will also continue operations.
The DGCA’s latest order will not apply to international all-cargo operations and flights they have specially approved. “…International Scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes by the competent authority on a case-to-case basis,” it said in its statement.
The Centre had opened up domestic flight operations last year itself. It had temporarily banned flights to and fro from the U.K. in December after news of the new strain of the virus, only to be revoked later.