International flight ban extended till August 31: Centre
By Vivek Raj | Galatta | Jul 31, 2020, 07:05 pm
India on Friday announced the extension of the ban on international commercial passenger flights till August 31. However, international cargo operations and flights specifically approved by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) will not fall under these restrictions. The Civil Aviation Ministry had earlier this month extended the ban on international flights till July 31, owing to the rise in the number of coronavirus cases across the country. Prior to that, the order was for the ban to be in place till July 15.
The Centre has signed 'Transport Bubble' agreements with the United States, France and Germany in order to resuscitate the movement of passenger flight services during the pandemic crisis. Air France and United Airlines of the US will operate a limited number of international flights under the "air bubble" arrangement with India. A travel bubble arrangement has also been made by the Centre with Kuwait in order to evacuate stranded passengers to and fro from both countries. Similar arrangements with other countries are also likely to be made in order to ease passenger movements.
International flight services to and from India have remained in a state of suspension since March after the nationwide lockdown was imposed in order to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. Limited domestic flight services resumed operations from May 25. More than 2,500 repatriation flights flew to and from India upon the government's approval during the suspension of international flights due to the coronavirus pandemic. India's national air carriers Air India and Air India Express evacuated more than 200,000 stranded passengers under the government's Vande Bharat Mission, while other flights brought back nearly 500,000 stranded passengers between May 6 to July 30.