DGCA has extended the ban on regular international flights, until further orders. However, flights that are operational under air bubble arrangements, as well as international cargo flights, will continue to operate as scheduled.
While officials from the DGCA and the civil aviation ministry had proposed to lift the ban, a nod from the ministry of health and family welfare was crucial, which has been closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation.
The ban on scheduled international passenger flights has been in place in India since March 23, 2020. However, special passenger flights have been operating between India and approximately 40 countries since July 2020 under air-bubble arrangements.
India currently has air transport bubbles with 40 countries, including Canada, France, Germany, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the US.
The DGCA, in January, had extended the suspension on international flights from and to India, in view of the rising Coronavirus cases across the world.
It has been a belief that the Centre could resume international flights from the end of March, or at the beginning of the summer schedule for airlines.
Indian carriers at one point in time used to operate close to 3,000 flights, during the pre-COVID-19 period. The aviation sector has been seeking a reduction in excise duty on aviation turbine fuel (ATF), even as it battles the impact of COVID-19 on the business.