India extends ban on international flights till 31st December
International flights to and from India will remain suspended till 31 December, Indian aviation watchdog the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said on Thursday. Earlier, the suspension was to end on 30 November.
However, international all-cargo operations and flights, such as repatriation flights, charter flights, flights under the Vande Bharat Mission and air bubble agreements, will continue to operate, a DGCA circular said. International scheduled flights may be allowed on select routes by the competent authority on a case-to-case basis, it added.
The latest decision by the country’s aviation regulator comes amid implementation of new travel restrictions, and lockdown in Europe.
India banned international flights on 23 March to contain the pandemic. Domestic flights have been allowed since 25 May in a limited capacity, select international flights have been allowed to operate, mostly to repatriate stranded citizens.
As things stand, India has bilateral air bubbles in place with as many as 24 countries such as the US, the UK, France, Germany, UAE, Qatar and Maldives for international air travel between them. India is also in talks with other countries for resumption of flights under such agreement. A bilateral air bubble is a mechanism to resume flights between India and other countries with preconditions, which regulate movement in view of Covid-19.