India’s ban on global flights enters 16th month

Eudore R. Chand

NEW DELHI 1 July 2021: India’s ban on scheduled international flights into and out of the country entered its sixteenth month tonight with its Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) extending the ban till 31st July.

The suspension of regular flights, imposed in March last year following the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, was to have expired tonight. The extension, ordered by Sunil Kumar, Joint Director General of the DGCA, came hours before the ban was to expire.

Kumar said international all-cargo operations and passenger flights specifically approved by the DGCA will be exempted from the ban. Additionally, “international scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes by the competent authority on a case-by-case basis.”

India has air bubble agreements with more than two dozen countries to operate air services on a temporary basis. But many of these countries have suspended such flights in view of a second wave of the pandemic. India has also been operating special flights exclusively for the repatriation of its citizens from abroad.

Arindam Bagchi, Spokesman of the Ministry of External Affairs, hoped the suspended air bubble arrangements would resume soon.

“We hope that as the Covid-19 situation continues to improve in our country, other countries would take steps to normalise travel with India. We have seen some initial steps in this regard. The government will continue to prioritise this issue.”


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