New Delhi: Director General of Civil Aviation, the nodal body for aviation in India has announced the extension of ban on scheduled commercial passenger flights till February 28th. All flights under Air Bubble agreements and Mission Vande Bharat will continue to operate. Cargo flights will also continue to operate as per the previous arrangement. In a circular, the DGCA stated “The competent authority has decided to extend the suspension of scheduled international commercial passenger services to/from India till 23:59 hrs IST of February 28, 2022.”
Earlier, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), on December 1st, decided not to resume scheduled international flights from December 15th, less than a week after announcing that it would restart the services amid the rising threat of the new Omicron variant across the globe. In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the scheduled international passenger services have been suspended in India since March 23rd, 2020. On December 1st, 2021, the DGCA revoked its November 26th decision without saying how long the suspension of scheduled international flights continues.
However, special international flights have been operating under the Vande Bharat Mission since May 2020 and under bilateral “air bubble” arrangements with selected countries since July 2020. India has formed air bubble pacts with around 40 countries including the US, the UK, the UAE, Kenya, Bhutan and France. Under an air bubble pact between two countries, special international flights can be operated by their airlines between their territories.