Tuesday, August 9, 2022

India extends international flight ban till January end amid Omicron scare

The office of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Thursday announced that the restrictions on scheduled international commercial passenger services from and to India shall not apply to international all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved by DGCA.

Circular issued by the DGCA stated that the suspension of scheduled international commercial passenger services has been extended till January 31 next year. “The competent authority has decided to extend the suspension of Scheduled International commercial passenger services to/from India till 2359 hrs 1ST of 31st January, 2022. This restriction shall not apply to international all-cargo operations and flight specifically approved by DGCA,” the circular read.
However, the international scheduled flights are likely to be allowed on selected routes by the competent authority on case to case basis.

“International Scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes by the competent authority on case to case basis,” the circular added. The announcement comes amid the rise of the new COVID-19 variant identified as Omicron.
In November, the Aviation Ministry had announced that it was in line to resume regular international flights from December 15.

At that time, the Ministry of Civil Aviation had stated, “The matter of resumption of scheduled commercial international passenger services to and from India has been examined in consultation with the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and it has been decided that scheduled commercial international passenger services to and from India may be resumed from December 15, 2021.”
Flights to and from the countries which have been identified by the Ministry of Health as not “at-risk” will have full capacity entitlements as per bilateral air service agreements.

Flights from countries identified to be “at-risk” and with whom air bubbles have been formalised, will have 75 per cent of pre-Covid operations of Indian and foreign carriers. However, countries identified to be “at-risk” and with whom air bubbles have not been formalised, will have 50 per cent of bilateral capacity entitlements or 50 per cent of pre-COVID-19 operation of Indian or foreign carrier whichever is higher. India has removed Singapore from its list of “at-risk” nations. The current list of “at-risk” countries for the COVID-19 Omicron variant includes the United Kingdom, other countries in Europe, South Africa, Brazil, Botswana, China, Ghana, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Hong Kong and Israel.

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