DGCA extends ban on scheduled international flights till July 31

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Wednesday extended the ban on scheduled international flights to and from the country till July 31. The scheduled international flight operations to and from India, except cargo/repatriation/relief services, have been under suspension since March 2020.

“In partial modification of the circular dated 26-06-2020, the competent authority has further extended the validity of the circular issued on the subject cited above regarding scheduled international commercial passenger service to/from India till 2359 hours IST of 31st July 2021. The restriction shall not apply to international all-cargo operations and flights specially approved by the DGCA,” a notification, signed by Sunil Kumar, the joint director general of the civil aviation regulator, read.

“However, international scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes by the competent authority on a case basis,” the notification started further.

Flight services, both domestic and international, were initially closed in March last year when the first lockdown was announced to curb the spread of cases of coronavirus disease. However, in May, carriers were allowed to resume services on domestic routes though the ban on international flights remained and continues to this day.

Even as the ban on international flights continues, Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced on Monday that when it possible for international travellers to visit India, the first 500,000 would be given visas free of cost. This was one of the eight schemes announced by Sitharaman to boost the Covid-19 hit economy, with special emphasis on health and tourism.