Covid-19; Suspension of scheduled international flights extended till July 31

The coronavirus-induced suspension of scheduled international passenger flights has been extended till July 31, aviation regulator DGCA said on Wednesday.

Scheduled international flights were suspended on March 23, 2020, and the severity of the pandemic has meant that even after 16 months there is no sign of the same resuming anytime in a hurry.

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

In the last year, India has been operating Vande Bharat Mission flights to many places and has so far formed air bubbles with some countries. During the second Covid catastrophe surge starting mid-April, about 20 countries have imposed restrictions like flight suspensions from India or stricter entry norms for travelers from here.

Now that the second wave is ebbing, a few like Singapore and Maldives are beginning to lift the restrictions.

UAE, the biggest international destination for Indian travelers, is yet to open for them. Etihad website says, “Flights from India to the UAE have been suspended until 21 July by the UAE authorities.”

It remains to be seen when UAE, and several other countries, lift restrictions on travel from India.

India has formed air bubble pacts with around 24 countries including the US, the UK, the UAE, Kenya, Bhutan, and France. Under an air bubble pact between two countries, special international flights can be operated by their airlines between their territories.

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