In view of the prevailing COVID-19 situation in the world, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has extended suspension of scheduled international commercial passenger flights till April 30.
“However, international scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes by the competent authority on a case-to-case basis,” the DGCA said in its order. Scheduled international passenger services have been suspended in India since March 23, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
— DGCA (@DGCAIndia) March 23, 2021
But special international flights have been operating under the Vande Bharat Mission since May and under bilateral “air bubble” arrangements with selected countries since July.
India has formed air bubble pacts with 27 countries, including the US, the UK, the UAE, Kenya, Bhutan and France. Under an air bubble pact between two countries, special international flights can be operated by their airlines between their territories.
DGCA Circular Exempts Cargo
The DGCA circular also said that the suspension does not affect the operation of international all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved by it.
The move to extend suspension of international commercial passenger flights comes at a time when India is seeing a rapid surge in COVID-19 cases. There are also concerns over the rising number of cases with the new variants of the virus being reported in India.
Earlier in the day, the Union health ministry said so far India has reported 795 cases where the patients had contracted the UK, Brazil and South African variants of the COVID-19 virus.