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International commercial flights to remain suspended till August 31

International commercial passenger flights will remain suspended till August 31, announced the DGCA. 

Jul 31, 2020 17:37 IST
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The International commercial passenger flights will remain suspended till August 31, 2020. This was announced by the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on July 31, 2020.

The official statement read that the restriction will not apply to international all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved by DGCA.

The announcement comes as the fifth phase of Vande Bharat Mission is scheduled to begin from August 1st to repatriate stranded Indians from 23 countries.  Under phase 5 of the mission, a total of 792 flights have been scheduled, which includes 692 international flights and 100 domestic flights. 

Transport Bubble Agreements

In the wake of suspension of scheduled International commercial passenger services, India signed 'Transport Bubble' agreements with the US, UK, Germany and France. The agreements came into being since mid-July. 

Under the bubble agreement, India and the destination country operate their respective carriers to and fro. The air bubbles started with the US's United Airlines announcing 18 flights between India and the US from July 17 to July 31st. 

France's Air France also agreed to operate 28 flights between France and Delhi/Mumbai and Bangalore in India between July 18 to August 1st.

The UAE also allowed India a small window to operate flights to and fro between July 12 and July 26. The air bubble is yet to renewed. Earlier, all Indian carriers flying to bring back Indians from the UAE were going empty from here under the Vande Bharat Mission, as the UAE had not allowed passengers to be brought in. 

India has also reportedly signed a 'transport bubble' agreement with Kuwait to ferry passengers to and from India.

Most of the air bubble agreements have been renewed for another two weeks and more of such agreements are expected to be signed with different nations to ease passenger movement.

Background

All international commercial flight operations have been suspended since March 22, 2020 after the imposition of the complete nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19. The domestic passenger flight operations were resumed on May 25, while the International services continue to remain suspended aside from the Vande Bharat Mission.

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