Commercial international flights have remained suspended since March 23, 2020, to check the spread of the Covid-19 infection. International commercial flights will remain suspended till September 30 owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Centre said on Sunday. Indian aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), extends the ban on scheduled international flights to and from the country until September 30, 2021. “In partial modification of circular dated 26-06-2020, the competent authority has further extended the validity of circular issued on the subject cited above regarding Scheduled International commercial passenger services to/from India till 2359 hrs IST of 30 September 2021,” stated the order issued by the DGCA on August 29, 2021.
The restriction does not apply to international cargo operations. Exceptions are also made to international flights under travel bubble agreements or flights approved by the DGCA. India currently has travel bubble agreements with 28 countries, the Indian Civil Aviation Ministry website indicates. The DGCA also said that scheduled international flights might be allowed on selected routes on a case-to-case basis. Commercial international flights have remained suspended since March 23, 2020, to check the spread of the Covid-19 infection. The Indian government had initially imposed international travel restrictions in March 2020, which have since been prolonged by almost 18 months Special international flights were also operating under the ‘Vande Bharat Mission’ since May 2020 to bring home thousands of Indian nationals stranded abroad due to the coronavirus lockdown.
The restrictions were later eased for certain countries with which India has had an air bubble arrangement during the past year. The air bubble pact between the two countries allows the operation of special international flights by the national carrier between their territories. India was considering lifting the restrictions on international commercial flights on August 31. However, the ban was extended as a threat of a third wave of infections looms large. This comes on a day when India reported 45,083 new cases and 460 deaths in the last 24 hours. The active cases have also increased to over 3.6 lakh.