Amid a complete lockdown in India, the central government on Thursday extended the ban on international flights till April 14. However, the restrictions would not apply to cargo flights or those specially permitted by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), according to a latest advisory by the civil aviation ministry.
"It has been decided that all scheduled commercial passenger services shall remain closed till 1830 hours GMT of April 14, 2020," the report said.
India, which had banned international flights for a week from Sunday, has taken this decision to restrict travel amid the coronavirus pandemic. Last week, the government had imposed ban on international flights for a week from March 22 to March 29. Domestic flights have been already suspended till March 31.
Trains, metros, inter-state buses and all public transport have been banned after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a nationwide 21-day lockdown from March 25.
The decision is likely to have massive impact on the carriers like IndiGo, Air India, SpiceJet, GoAir and Vistara. Media reports suggest the central government is mulling over $1.6 billion rescue package for the aviation industry, which has been one of the worst affected sectors due to coronavirus.
According to global aviation consultancy CAPA, the private domestic carriers are expected to report consolidated losses of up to $600 million (Rs 4,500 crore) in March quarter due to the curtailed flight schedules, slide in new bookings, large-scale cancellations, and rescheduling of flights in the wake of coronavirus.
By Chitranjan Kumar