Friday, July 31, 2020

Scheduled international flights suspended till August 31; travel bubbles with more countries soon

New Delhi: The government has extended suspension of scheduled international flights till August 31, 2020. However, travel will take place under the travel bubbles India has created with US, Germany and France. In the coming days, more countries like UK, Canada could also have these bubbles with India allowing people — as per government norms — to travel to and from there.

“The government has decided to extend the suspension on the scheduled international commercial passenger services to/from India up to 11.59 pm (IST) of August 31, 2020. However, this restriction shall not apply to international all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation,” the DGCA said in a statement on Friday.

India had suspended scheduled international passenger flights on March 22 in wake of the corona pandemic. Since then, the DGCA said over “2,500 repatriation flights by foreign carriers to uplift stranded passengers to/from India have been approved. Under the Vande Bharat Mission, Air India and AI Express have uplifted 2,67,436 stranded passengers and other charters have uplifted 4,86,811 stranded passengers during the period from May 6 to July 30, 2020.”
The aviation ministry has long maintained that resumption of schedule international flights will be considered once domestic flights reach the 50% mark of the originally approved summer schedule. Schedule domestic flights were allowed to resume after two-month suspension on May 25 and so far airlines are operating about 30% of the summer schedule. They have been allowed to raise the capacity to 45% till November 24 — something that may be relaxed depending on how the pandemic situation pans out and if states relax their caps on flight operations.
31/07/20 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India
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