The Centre on Wednesday, December 30, extended the suspension of scheduled commercial international flights till January 31, 2021. However, restrictions will not apply on special flights as well as international air cargo operations.
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."
The DGCA has also suspended international flights to and from the UK till January 7. The suspension comes amid detection of 20 cases of a new infectious strain of COVID-19, which was first discovered in the UK.
Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Wednesday that the flights will continue to operate in a strictly regulated manner after January 7, 2021.
"Decision has been taken to extend the temporary suspension of flights to & from the UK till 7 January 2021. Thereafter strictly regulated resumption will take place for which details will be announced shortly," Puri said on Twitter.
Decision has been taken to extend the temporary suspension of flights to & from the UK till 7 January 2021.— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) December 30, 2020
Thereafter strictly regulated resumption will take place for which details will be announced shortly.
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.
Under an air bubble pact between two countries, special international flights can be operated by airlines between their territories.
The DGCA circular also said that the suspension does not affect operation of international all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved by it.