The Directorate General of Civil Aviation on Friday extended the suspension of international commercial air travel till July 15, in view of the coronavirus pandemic. The restriction, however, will not apply to international cargo operations and flights specifically approved by the aviation regulator.
All passenger flights were suspended when a countrywide lockdown was enforced late in March to contain the coronavirus outbreak. Domestic passenger services were resumed from May 25.
“Scheduled international commercial passenger services to or from India shall remain suspended till 23:59 hours IST [Indian Standard Time] of July 15, 2020,” a circular released by the aviation authority stated. “However, international scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes by the competent authority on a case to case basis.”
Last week, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said that the Centre will take a decision on resuming international passenger flights in July if the coronavirus behaves in a “predictable manner” and the entire aviation ministry and state governments are on board, NDTV reported.
“If you leave it to me, and if the ecosystem works, and if we have the predictability in terms of behaviour of the virus, I think in the coming month we should start taking the decision,” he had said. “But those decisions will not be taken by the Indian civil aviation ministry. Those decisions will be taken by the governments after looking at their domestic situation.”
India recorded 17,296 new infections on Friday, taking the overall count to 4,90,401. This is by far the biggest single-day rise in the number of new cases. The toll rose to 15,301 with 407 new deaths. Over 2.8 lakh people have recovered so far.