Amid looming threat of COVID third wave, govt extends ban on international passenger flights till August 31

NEW DELHI: The government on Friday extended the ban on international passenger flights until midnight of August 31, 2021, as per the circular issued by the aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

The DGCA, in its latest circular, said, “the ban shall remain in place till 2359 hrs Indian Standard Time (IST) of August 31, 2021. However, it shall not apply to cargo flights and those approved by the regulatory body.”

“This restriction shall not apply to international all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved by DGCA. However. International scheduled flights may be allowed on select routes by the competent authority on a case-to-case basis” the DGCA circular noted. 



All scheduled international flights to and from India were banned from March 23 last year in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The restrictions on international commercial flights were supposed to end on July 31, 2021. 

The decision comes amid the threat of a looming third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and the emergence of the Delta variant of the virus in several countries. 

Despite the broader restrictions on international travel, certain flights were allowed to operate subsequently to repatriate stranded citizens or eligible cases.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has signed bilateral air bubble agreements with over 28 countries for the movement of eligible citizens in the wake of COVID restrictions.

The government signed mutual pacts with Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Canada, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Iraq, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Maldives, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America and Uzbekistan.

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