Aviation regulator Director General of Civil Aviation has announced that international flights out of India will remain suspended till August 31 even as the country enters Unlock 3.0. However, passenger movement through 'transort bubbles' with various countries will continue. Cargo operations and flights specifically approved by the DGCA will continue to function as before, the regulator said.
"The government has decided to extend the suspension on the scheduled international commercial passenger services to/from India upto 11.59 pm (IST) of August 31, 2020. However, this restriction shall not apply to international all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation," the DGCA said in a statement on Friday.
"To allow gradual movement of passenger traffic during the COVID-19 situation, 'transport bubble' agreements have been signed with USA, France, and Germany. Recently, 'transport bubble' agreement has also been signed with Kuwait to uplift stranded passenger both to/from India. More similar arrangements are likely to fructify and ease passenger movements from different countries," the regulator further added.
The DGCA informed that more than 2,500 repatriation flights by foreign carriers to uplift stranded passengers to and from India have been approved since international flight operations were cancelled on March 22 in view of the coronavirus pandemic. "Under the Vande Bharat Mission, Air India and AI Express have uplifted 2,67,436 stranded passengers and other charters have uplifted 4,86,811 stranded passengers during the period from May 6 to July 30, 2020," it said.
DGCA had allowed domestic flights to resume after a gap of two months on May 25 with limited capacity and price caps. The authority has made clear that international flights will only resume after domestic operations achieve 50 per cent capacity of the original summer schedule. Last week, the DGCA had extended restrictions and fare caps on domestic till November 24, until further orders.
The DGCA had issued seven bands of ticket pricing with lower and upper fare limits. The first such band consists of flights that are of less than 40 minutes duration. The lower and the upper fare limits for the first band is Rs 2,000 and Rs 6,000, respectively. The subsequent bands are for flights with durations of 40-60 minutes, 60-90 minutes, 90-120 minutes, 120-150 minutes, 150-180 minutes and 180-210 minutes. The lower and upper limits for these bands are: Rs 2,500-Rs 7,500; Rs 3,000-Rs 9,000; Rs 3,500-Rs 10,000; Rs 4,500-Rs 13,000; Rs 5,500-Rs 15,700 and Rs 6,500-Rs 18,600, respectively, the DGCA said.