India’s aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation said on Friday that the suspension of international flights to and from the country has been extended till August 31, amid the coronavirus pandemic, PTI reported. The suspension was to end on July 31.
“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 DGCA said in a statement. The restrictions will not apply to all-cargo operations and flights approved by DGCA.
India had banned international commercial flights on March 23, two days before the government imposed a complete lockdown in the country in a bid to control the coronavirus pandemic. Some domestic flight operations were allowed to restart on May 25.
India has signed “transport bubble” agreements with the United States, France, Kuwait and Germany, and a similar deal is likely to be signed with the United Kingdom, Mint quoted Minister of Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri as saying.
Under the transport bubble agreement with Britain, two London-New Delhi flights will be operated every day. India also had such a deal with the United Arab Emirates from July 12 to July 26.
Puri said that domestic flights are likely to operate at 55% to 60% capacity by November. He added that the limit on airfares may be extended beyond August 24 due to muted demand.
Meanwhile, the government has been operating international flights under “Mission Vande Bharat”, to bring back stranded Indians from abroad.