India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) today extended the ban on scheduled international flights into and out of India till midnight on 30th June. The current suspension of regular international passenger flights was to have expired on 31st May.
India suspended all overseas passenger traffic at the end of March last year in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as the pandemic abated in the second half of 2020, India signed “air bubble” arrangements for the global movement of passengers as a temporary measure pending the resumption of scheduled flights.
India has also been operating special flights for the repatriation of its citizens from abroad since May 2020 in a mission under the Hindi title of “Vande Bharat.”
Although India currently has air bubble agreements with 27 countries, many of them have temporarily suspended flights from India in view of a second wave of the pandemic. Today’s order by the DGCA formalizes the situation brought on by a fresh surge in COVID-19 cases in India in recent months.
The latest order exempts international cargo movements by air and passenger flights specifically approved by the DGCA.