OVERSEAS FLIGHTS BAN
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation updated its previous order, stating that the relevant authority had extended the ban on planned international passenger services into and out of India.
After a nationwide lockout was enforced to combat the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, international flights were first suspended in March 2020. The ban on international commercial passenger flights has been extended by the Indian government until May 31, 2021.
In a new amended circular, the aviation regulator DGCA announced that the suspension of international commercial passenger services has been extended. Whereas International all-cargo flights and other flights will be exempt from the ban.
The flight ban comes amid a dramatic rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in the second wave throughout the nation, as well as at least 21 countries' bans or prohibitions on flights/travelers from/to India.
In the last 24 hours, India has recorded 3,68,147 new Covid-19 incidents, 3,00,732 discharges, and 3,417 deaths. In the toughest week of the Covid-19 pandemic yet, India reported over 26 lakh new cases and nearly 23,800 deaths in the last seven days, despite daily case numbers dropping slightly after rising at over 4 lakh.
During the first phase of the Covid outbreak last year, all scheduled international air services in India were suspended on March 23, 2020. However, starting in May 2020, some special flights were allowed to operate under the Vande Bharat Mission.
To make the evacuation process easier, several air bubble agreements were made between countries. With 28 countries, India currently has a bilateral air bubble agreement for the service of special international passenger flights. In the meantime, many countries have placed restrictions on flights connecting them to India, noting an increase in the number of cases in the nation.
On a case-by-case basis, certain scheduled international flights may be permitted on some routes.