The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) announced on Friday that it has extended the ban on international commercial passenger flights till March 31, 2021.
The ban has been in place since March 2020. “In partial modification of circular dated June 26, 2020, the competent authority has further extended the validity of circular issued on the subject cited above regarding scheduled international commercial passenger services to/from India till 2359 hours IST of March 31, 2021,” read the circular issued by the DGCA.
The restrictions will not apply to international all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved by the DGCA, according to the official circular. This means that the flights operating under the bilateral air bubble agreements with select countries will continue to run. “However, international scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes by the competent authority on case-to-case basis,” added the circular.
Currently, India has bilateral air bubble pacts with multiple countries. These include countries such as Japan, the US, the UK, France, Germany, etc. The government also has been operating special repatriation flights under the ‘Vande Bharat Mission’ since May 2020 in order to bring stranded Indians back to the country. International commercial passenger flights have remained suspended since March 23, 2020, when the national lockdown restrictions were imposed.