India on Friday protracted the ban on international commercial passenger flights till August 31. But the restriction shall not apply to international cargo operations and flights precisely permitted by aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
“The government has decided to extend the suspension on the Scheduled International Commercial Passenger Services to/from India up to 2359 hours IST of 31st August,” the statement read. Earlier this month, in the wake of a surge in Covid-19 cases across the country, the civil aviation ministry had extended the ban on international flights till July 31. Prior to that, the earlier order had said the ban would be in place till July 15. The ban on international flights was extended even as capacity on domestic routes has been hiked to 45% from the earlier 33%.
To allow steady movement of passenger traffic during the Covid-19 health crisis, ‘Transport Bubble’ agreements have been signed with the United States, France and Germany. Air France and United Airlines of the US will operate a limited number of international flights under the “air bubble” arrangements with India.
During the interruption of international flights due to the Covid-19 outbreak in India and other countries, more than 2,500 repatriation flights by foreign carriers are to evacuate stranded nationals to and from India.