The coronavirus-induced ban on scheduled international passenger flights has been extended till July 31, aviation regulator DGCA said today. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said in a circular that dedicated cargo flights, flights under the bilateral air bubble pacts with select countries will continue to operate.
“However, international scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes by the competent authority on a case-to-case basis,” DGCA added.
Scheduled international passenger services have been suspended in India since 23 March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But special international flights have been operating under the Vande Bharat Mission since May last year. Apart from it the country has been operating special international flights under bilateral “air bubble” arrangements with selected countries since July 2020. India has formed air bubble pacts with around 24 countries.
After being completely shut for two months in 2020, domestic flights had resumed operations with about 33 per cent of their usual services last year. But as the second wave of Covid-19 gripped the country, domestic flight services saw several changes. From June 1, the airlines are are operating only 50 per cent of their pre-Covid domestic flights instead of 80 per cent. With the Covid-19 situation gradually improving, the cap was increased to 80 per cent by December 2020. Even the fares of domestic flights have gone up as the ministry raised the lower limit on fares by 13 to 16 per cent.
Meanwhile, India today registered less than 40,000 Covid cases. With a rise of 45,951 coronavirus infections, the country’s total tally has reached 3,03,62,848. According to the Union Health Ministry data updated at 8 am today, the daily fatalities remained below 1,000 for the third consecutive day. The death toll rose to 3,98,454 with 817 fresh fatalities. The active cases further declined to 5,37,064.