Ban on international passenger flights extended until July 31
The ban on international passenger flights to and from India has been extended until July 31, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said on Wednesday. The restrictions were earlier supposed to end on June 30. Scheduled international passenger flights have remained suspended in India since early last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Here are more details on this.
Ban not applicable on flights specifically approved by DGCA
"The competent authority has further extended the validity of circular issued on the subject cited above...till 2359 hrs IST of 31st July, 2021," the DGCA circular read. However, the ban will not apply on international cargo operations and flights that have been specifically approved by the civil aviation watchdog. Some flights may be "allowed on selected routes on a case-to-case basis," the circular added.
You can read the DGCA circular here
Passenger flights were suspended in India last March
Passenger flights in India were suspended in March 2020 to check the spread of the coronavirus. However, domestic flight operations were later allowed to be resumed. India had also started special flights under the Vande Bharat Mission to bring people back home and "air bubble" arrangements were made with several countries, including the US, the UK, the UAE, and France.
Free tourist visa for first 5L beneficiaries
Even though the ban continues, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced that when international travelers can visit India, the first 5,00,000 tourists would be issued visas free of cost.
India's coronavirus situation
India had faced the world's worst coronavirus outbreak earlier this year, reporting lakhs of cases and thousands of fatalities daily. The situation has since improved. In the past 24 hours, the country reported 45,951 fresh cases and 817 deaths. Nearly 20% of Indians have received at least one coronavirus vaccine shot. However, concerns over a possible third wave of the pandemic persist.