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DGCA extends suspension of international flights till Nov 30th

In view of the pandemic not taking a downward trend in its infections’ graph, the Director-General of Civil Aviation said in its notice of Tuesday that all scheduled international commercial passenger flights are further postponed till November 30th.

The circular, however, noted the possibility of permitting some international flights based on an individual manner.

The DGCA notice said, “On the partial modification of circular dates 26 June 2020, the competent authority has further extended the validity of circular issued on the subject ‘Travel and Visa restrictions related to Covid-19’ regarding scheduled international commercial passenger services to/from India till 23:59hrs IST of 30th November 2020”.

And added, “However, the international scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes by the competent authority on a case-to-case basis”.

Due to fear of the spread of coronavirus infections, the government of India had issued suspension orders on scheduled international passenger flights from March 23rd. Nevertheless, groups of special international flights have still been functioning to bring the stranded Indians from foreign countries. These have been labeled under the “Vande Bharat Mission” that started in May and the bilateral “air bubble” travel measures made in alliance with a few countries from July.

This air bubble arrangement has got formulated between India and 18 countries like the US, UAE, Kenya, UK, France, Bhutan, and others. The pact allows international travel between the two countries in flights carrying its citizens.

As far as the cargo operations are concerned, the DGCA clarified the suspension does not change the way the international cargo facilities were running. Along with the cargo services, it has also ruled out the application of the circular to special flights working with the office’s approval.

Domestic passenger flights were back in work in India since May 25th, post 2 months of shutdown due to the crisis.

In what seems like a regulatory mechanism, the aviation office said last week that it has permitted the running of 12,983 weekly flights for the winter schedule of Oct 25th to March 27th, 2021. Compared to the pre-covid days last year, this number accounts for only 55% of the total flights functioning.

Last year, the DGCA had granted permission for 23,307 weekly domestic flights as a part of the winter schedule. According to its statement, it has allowed 6,006 weekly domestic flights chartered by IndiGo for 2020’s winter schedule.

After the largest airline of India stood SpiceJet and GoAir as while the former received approval for 1,957 flights, the latter has 1,203 weekly domestic flights.