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20 months on: Scheduled international flight suspension extended till November 30


NEW DELHI: The government has extended suspension of scheduled international flights till November 30, 2021. However, Vande Bharat Mission and other flights under air bubbles will continue and people eligible as per government norms can fly to and from India on them. Scheduled international flights were suspended on March 23, 2020, and the severity of the pandemic has meant that even after 20 months there is no sign of the same resuming anytime in a hurry. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) issued an order Friday extending the suspension of scheduled international commercial passenger services to/from India till 11.59 pm (India time) of November 30, 2021. “This restriction shall not apply to international all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved by DGCA,” the order says. It adds that “international scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes by the competent authority on case to case basis.” In the last one year, India has been operating Vande Bharat Mission flights to many places and has so far formed air bubbles with some countries. During the second Covid catastrophe surge starting mid-April, about 20 countries have imposed restrictions like flight suspensions from India or stricter entry norms for travellers from here. Now that the second wave is ebbing, countries like Switzerland, France, Germany and Maldives are beginning to lift the restrictions.


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