The Centre announced on Friday that international commercial flights will remain suspended till August 31. But the restriction shall not apply to international cargo operations and flights specifically approved by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
In a statement, the DGCA said: “The Government has decided to extend the suspension on the Scheduled International Commercial Passenger Services to/from India up to 2359 hours IST of 31st August.”
“However, this restriction shall not apply to international all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved by DGCA,” it said.
Earlier this month, in the wake of a surge in Covid-19 cases across the country, the civil aviation ministry had extended the ban on international flights till July 31. Prior to that, the earlier order had said the ban would be in place till July 15. Scheduled international passenger flights were suspended in India on March 23 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
To allow gradual movement of passenger traffic during the Covid-19 health crisis, ‘Transport Bubble’ agreements have been signed with United States, France and Germany. Air France and United Airlines of the US will operate a limited number of international flights under so-called “air bubble” arrangements with India.
The country has also signed a travel bubble agreement with Kuwait to evacuate stranded passengers both to and from India. Further similar arrangements are likely to be put in place to ease passenger movements from different countries.
A bilateral air bubble refers to a travel corridor between two countries that wish to reopen their borders and re-establish connections with each other.
The aviation ministry has long maintained that resumption of schedule international flights will be considered once domestic flights reach the 50% mark of the originally approved summer schedule.