Scheduled international flights suspended till July 31, some on selected routes may be allowed: DGCA
India on Friday extended the ban on scheduled international commercial passenger flights till July 31 as the Covid-19 pandemic showed no signs of abating.
However, the civil aviation regulator DGCA kept the option of allowing international scheduled flights on select routes on approval by the competent authority on a case by case basis.
This caveat is significant as India is in talks with civil aviation authorities of the US, Canada, Britain, France, Germany and some Gulf countries to make bilateral arrangements for allowing international travel through 'air bubbles'.
Travel as demand on these routes continue to remain high even after the evacuation of stranded passengers.
India had suspended all scheduled commercial passenger flights on both the domestic and international routes in March as the country went into lockdown in March to arrest the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The government opened up the domestic aviation sector on May 25 with Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri announcing that he would wait for operations to reach 50-55 per cent of the pre-Covid-19 levels before thinking of re-starting scheduled international operations.
On June 26, the DGCA had extended the ban on international scheduled commercial flights till July 15.
However, the restrictions will not apply to international cargo operations and flights, specifically approved by the DGCA such as repatriation charters and air ambulances.