Restrictions on international passenger flights extended until March 31
The prevailing restrictions on international passenger flights have been extended until March 31, India's aviation watchdog Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said in a statement issued on Friday. The restrictions were placed last year in the wake of the spread of the coronavirus, which has since infected tens of thousands across the country. Here are more details on this.
This is what the DGCA said in its statement
"The competent authority has further extended the validity of circular issued on the subject cited above regarding Scheduled International commercial passenger services to/from India till 2359 hours IST of 31st March, 2021 (sic)," the DGCA said. "However, International Scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes by the competent authority on a case-to-case basis," its statement further read.
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Restrictions will not apply to international all-cargo operations
However, the restrictions will not be applicable to international all-cargo operations and flights that have been specially approved by the aviation body. This means that the flights operating under the bilateral air bubble agreements with select countries will continue to run. India currently has bilateral air bubble pacts with several countries like Japan, the US, the UK, France, and Germany, among others.
Restrictions were placed in March last year
The restrictions on international flights were announced in March last year in an attempt to check the spread of the COVID-19. Since then, the central government has eased restrictions for various sectors of the economy but not the international passenger flight operations. In fact, domestic flight operations were allowed to be resumed late last year.
Several states reporting spike in COVID-19 cases
In India, COVID-19 has thus far infected more than 1.10 crore and claimed the lives of over 1.5 lakh. Worryingly, several states have been reporting a spike in COVID-19 cases over the past couple of weeks amid growing fears over mutated strains of the virus. This has prompted state governments to announce various fresh curbs to check the virus' spread.