India extends international flights suspension till December 31

New Delhi: The Indian government on Thursday extended the suspension of scheduled international commercial passenger services till December 31 in view of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), in a notification ‘Travel and Visa restrictions related to COVID-19’, said, “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 1ST of 31St December, 2020.”

All-cargo operations

“This restriction shall not apply to international all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved by the DGCA,” the order stated.

The aviation regulator further clarified that international scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes by the “competent authority on case to case basis”.

Earlier this month, the DGCA had extended the ban on scheduled international passenger flights till November 30.

Air bubble pact

India has entered into air bubble arrangements with multiple countries even though regular international flights remain banned owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under an air bubble pact between two countries, special international passenger flights can be operated by their airlines into each other’s territories.

Scheduled international flights have been suspended in India since March 23 due to the coronavirus outbreak. However, special international passenger flights have been operating in India under the Vande Bharat Mission since May and under bilateral air bubble arrangements formed between India and other countries since July.