The Indian government has further extended the ban on international flights till August 31. As per the earlier announcement, the ban on international commercial flights to and from India was ending on July 31. The ban on scheduled overseas flights was to end on 30 July after a 16-month gap.
The DGCA however pointed out that international scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes by the competent authority on a “case to case basis” in its circular. International passenger flights were suspended in India from March 23 last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. International cargo flights were allowed to operate though the ban was extended on commercial international flights. Special international flights were operating under the Vande Bharat Mission since May 2020 and under bilateral ‘air bubble’ arrangements with selected nations from July 2020. Dedicated cargo flights, flights under the bilateral air bubble pacts with select countries will continue to operate, the civil aviation watchdog said.
India currently has bilateral air bubble agreements with about 28 countries, including Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Canada, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Iraq, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, the Maldives, Nepal, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Rwanda, Seychelles, Tanzania, Ukraine, the UAE, the UK, Uzbekistan and the US.