India on Thursday extended the suspension of scheduled commercial international flights till 11.59 pm on February 28, 2021. This restriction, however, will not apply to international cargo operations and flights specifically approved by the DGCA.
Issuing a modified order in this regard, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) stated that international scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes by the "competent authority on a case-to-case basis".
Scheduled international passenger services have been suspended in India since March 23 due to the coronavirus pandemic. But special international flights have been operating under the Vande Bharat Mission since May, and under bilateral "air bubble" arrangements with selected countries since July. India has formed air bubble pacts with 24 countries including the US, the UK, the UAE, Kenya, Bhutan and France.
Earlier on Wednesday, the DGCA had extended the restriction on flights between India and UK upto midnight of February 14, 2021, to contain the spread of a mutant COVID-19 strain which was recently discovered in the UK. Last month, several countries, including India, had suspended flight operations to the UK in the wake of the new mutant COVID-19 strain, which is more deadly and spreads more easily.
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