International passengers are now mandatorily required to pre-book RT-PCR tests at six airports including Delhi and Mumbai, the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) announced on December 14. The other airports where pre-booking of RT-PCR tests has been made compulsory for international passengers are Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata.
“Considering the convenience of the travellers, a lead time of a week would be provided, i.e., for the new system to come into effect on December 20,” the statement said.
“DGCA is requested to issue an advisory to all the airlines to check mandatory pre-booking of their passengers before they board the flight,” he added.
The memorandum also said that in case any passenger is having any difficulty in pre-booking, he/she may not be denied boarding, but it would be the responsibility of the airlines to identify and accompany such passengers to the registration counter at the airport for testing.
The DGCA has announced that commercial international flights from India will resume on January 31 amid rising fear of the new Omicron variant. Ahead of this, the DGCA had announced that the scheduled flight will resume from December 15. This order was revised when the nation displayed concerns over another wave due to the new variant. The DGCA had also announced that the order would not affect the current flights that are operating as it is only for the complete resumption that has now been postponed.
Last month, the Centre decided to normalise international flight operations, which remained suspended from March 2020. DGCA further said that the air bubble arrangement that India has with several countries should remain intact.
“In view of the merging global scenario… the situation is being watched closely in consultation with all stakeholders and an appropriate decision indicating the effective date of resumption of scheduled commercial international passenger services shall be notified in due course,” stated a note from the DGCA.