The suspension of scheduled international passenger flights has been extended till 30 November amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation said on 28 October.
“However, the international scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes by the competent authority on a case-to-case basis,” the Indian aviation regulator said in a circular. The scheduled international passenger services have been suspended in India since 23 March due to the coronavirus pandemic. But special international flights have been operating under the Vande Bharat Mission since May and under the bilateral ‘air bubble’ arrangements with selected countries since July.
India has formed air bubble pacts with around 18 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.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) circular mentioned that the suspension does not affect the operation of international all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved by it. The scheduled domestic passenger flights resumed in India on 25 May after a gap of two months amid the pandemic situation.
The DGCA circular said, “On partial modification of circular dates 26 June 2020, the competent authority has further extended the validity of circular issued on the subject ‘Travel and Visa restrictions related to COVID-19’ regarding scheduled international commercial passenger services to/from India till 23:59 hrs IST of 30 November 2020”.
the restrictions shall not apply to all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved by DGCA. However, international scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes by the competent authority on case to case basis, the circular added.
Meanwhile last week, the regulator said that it had approved 12,983 weekly domestic flights of airlines in winter schedule from 25 October till 27 March next year, which is around 55% of the permission granted in the pre-COVID times last year.
It is worth noting that last year for the winter schedule, the DGCA had approved 23,307 weekly domestic flights. The aviation regulator said it had approved 6,006 weekly domestic flights of IndiGo, India’s largest airline, for this year’s winter schedule. SpiceJet and GoAir have got 1,957 and 1,203 weekly domestic flights, respectively.