Global flight suspension expanded further till September 30

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KEY STORY

  • The Government on Sunday (August 29) extended the suspension on international scheduled commercial passenger flights to and from India till September 30.
  • All scheduled international flights to and from India remain banned from March 23 last year in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. The restrictions on international commercial flights were supposed to end on August 31, 2021. However, the suspension has been extended further amid third wave concerns.
  • As per the latest circular, the ban shall remain in place till 2359 hrs Indian Standard Time (IST) of September 30, 2021. However, it shall not apply to cargo flights and those approved by the regulatory body.
  • “This restriction shall not apply to international all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved by DGCA. However. International scheduled flights may be allowed on select routes by the competent authority on a case to case basis” the circular noted.

  • It is worth remembering that despite the broader restrictions on international travel, certain flights are allowed to operate subsequently to repatriate stranded citizens or eligible cases.
  • India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has signed bilateral air bubble agreements with over 28 countries for the movement of eligible citizens in the wake of Covid restrictions.
  • India signed mutual pacts with Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Canada, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Iraq, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Maldives, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America, Bangladesh and Uzbekistan.
  • Air bubble pacts are signed by countries to mutually allow special international flights to ferry passengers between their territories. However, owing to the severity of the second wave, several countries such as the UK, US, UAE and Canada temporarily suspended flight operations to and from India.
  • Meanwhile, after a long hiatus, flights between India and Bangladesh will resume from September 3, 2021.

CONCLUSION

  • The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) said that passenger airlines can resume operations after four months under an air bubble agreement signed by the two countries last year.
  • Air travel services between destinations of the two countries were suspended as Covid-19 cases surged during the second wave of the pandemic earlier this year. “The air bubble may be resumed w.e.f. 03.09.21 till resumption of scheduled International passenger flights,’ MoCA letter read.

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