India extends suspension on international flights till December 31
The order by DGCA clarified that the restrictions will not be applied to the flights that are approved by DGCA and international all-cargo operations.
The Indian government on November 26, 2020, decided to extend the ban on the scheduled international commercial passenger services till December 31, 2020, because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
In an official notification ‘Travel and Visa restrictions related to COVID-19’, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) stated that in partial modification of the circular of June 26, 2020, the authority has decided to extend the validity of the circular issued regarding the scheduled international passenger flights to/from India till December 31, 2020.
Earlier in November 2020, DGCA had extended the ban on international flights till November 30, 2020. While, the domestic flight services were allowed to resume on May 25, 2020, at only one-third capacity.
No restrictions on international all-cargo operations and approved flights:
The order by DGCA further stated that the restrictions will not be applied to the flights that are approved by DGCA and international all-cargo operations.
The aviation authority further clarified that international flights can be allowed on the selected routes by the authority on case to case basis.
Bubble arrangements with other countries and Vande Bharat Mission:
The government had suspended international flights in India from March 23, 2020, because of the COVID-19 outbreak. However, special international flights have been operating in India under bilateral air bubble arrangements formed between India and other countries since July 2020 and Vande Bharat Mission since May 2020.
India has entered into bubble agreements with multiple countries even though the regular international commercial flights have remained suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the air bubble pact between two countries, special international flights are allowed to operate by their specific airlines into each other’s defined territories.
Currently, India has established air bubble arrangements with about 18 countries which include France, the US, UK, Qatar, UAE, Kenya, Maldives, and Bhutan.
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