Wednesday 26 January 2022
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India not to resume international flights on 15 December

International flights under the air bubble, which India — along with 31 countries — is a part of, will continue until scheduled flights resume

Regular international flights to and from India are now unlikely to resume from December 15 due to the Omicron worry.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) of India will notify the new date “in due course” as the situation unfolds, it said today.

International flights under the air bubble, which India has formed with 31 countries, will continue until scheduled flights resume.

“In view of the evolving global scenario with the emergence of new variants of concern, the situation is being watched closely in consultation with all stakeholders, and an appropriate decision indicating the effective date of resumption of scheduled commercial international passenger services shall be notified in due course,” a DGCA circular issued Wednesday said.

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India had last week announced a graded resumption of regular international flights from 15 December, nearly 21 months after being suspended on 23 March 2020. Their return was eagerly awaited as limited bubble flights have led to skyrocketing international airfares. It’s not uncommon for one-way fares to be more than return fares of pre- times in peak travel periods.

However, the Omicron variant has bought back travel restrictions and more stringent RT-PCR testing requirements along with institutional quarantine which will weaken international travel demand — that was nowhere close to pre- levels. And now resumption of scheduled international flights may also get indefinitely delayed till the pandemic situation gets under control, at least for the latest variant.

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