Suspension of international flights extended till next month! The COVID-19 pandemic-induced suspension of scheduled international passenger flight services has been extended till 30 June 2021. The announcement was made by the aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Friday. However, the DGCA further stated that international scheduled flight services may be allowed on selected air routes by the competent authority on a case-to-case basis, according to a PTI report. Due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, scheduled international passenger services have been suspended in the country since 23 March 2020. But since May 2020, special international flight services have been operating under the Vande Bharat Mission, as well as under bilateral “air bubble” arrangements with select countries since the month of July, last year.
According to the report, air bubble pacts have been formed by India with around 27 countries including the UAE, the US, Bhutan, Kenya and France. Special international flight services can be operated by two countries by their airlines between their territories, under an air bubble pact between two nations. The circular issued by the DGCA on Friday also said that the suspension of international passenger flights does not affect international all cargo operations as well as flights that are specifically approved by it. The report further said that the decision to extend the suspension on scheduled international passenger flights comes as the country battles a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, even though daily cases of novel coronavirus have seen a steady decline over the past several days.
Earlier this week, direct flight services were started by FlyBig airlines between Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh’s district of East Siang and the cities of Kolkata, Guwahati. It is being said that direct flight services under the Modi government’s UDAN scheme will drastically boost the economic opportunities in the region.