The Directorate General of Civil Aviation on Friday extended the suspension on international passenger flights till May 31.
“However, international scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes by the competent authority on a case-to-case basis,” the civil aviation authority said in its order.
India had grounded both domestic and international flights, as part of its nationwide lockdown announced in March last year. However, since June, the government allowed limited operations of Air India flights under the “Vande Bharat” mission for certain categories of Overseas Citizenship of India, Persons of Indian Origin card-holders and other Indians who were stuck abroad due to the pandemic. The Centre had allowed domestic flight services to resume on May 25.
Since July, the government also started setting up “air bubble” arrangements with selected countries. Currently, India has air bubble pacts with at least 27 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Kenya, Bhutan and France, according to News18. Under the pact, special international flights can be operated by the airlines between the two countries.
Meanwhile, India on Friday registered 3,86,452 coronavirus cases, pushing the overall count of infections to 1,87,62,976 since the pandemic first broke out in India in January 2020. This is the highest ever single-day rise in cases reported by any country so far, and the ninth consecutive day when India has recorded more than 3 lakh cases.