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Thursday, September 24, 2020

Explained: Why the Centre has delayed resuming international flights till Sept 30

The government has said that international flights would be allowed depending on how the virus behaves. For those who have to travel urgently, scheduled Vande Bharat flights, and flights to destinations with whom India has air bubble arrangements offer a limited option.

Written by Pranav Mukul , Edited by Explained Desk | New Delhi | Updated: September 6, 2020 10:24:26 am
A queue of aircraft parked in Germany. PTI Photo

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has extended the ban on scheduled international commercial flights by a month to September 30 from the current date of August 31.

This means that scheduled international passenger flights will have remained suspended for a period of over six months since March 23, when they were stopped for the first time to contain the transmission of the novel coronavirus that has caused the Covid-19 pandemic.

Why has the DGCA extended the ban?

The government has said that the relaxation on International flights will depend on how the virus behaves, and how caseloads are being recorded within India as well as in the destination countries. Keeping that in mind, international scheduled flights have been suspended further.

Does this mean that the international flights that were to arrive and depart over the next one month will be cancelled?

If a passenger has booked tickets for flights being operated under the government’s air bubble arrangements with either Indian or foreign carriers or the Vande Bharat Mission, those flights will continue to operate as per schedule.

The DGCA has allowed international flights on selected routes such as to the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the United Arab Emirates, the Maldives, etc. on a case-by-case basis.

Additionally, international cargo flights are also being allowed to operate by the regulator.

By when are regular international flights expected to resume?

The resumption of regular international operations still remains a function of destination jurisdictions allowing travel from India.

Speaking at The Indian Express’ Idea Exchange event recently, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had alluded to the fact that it was difficult to anticipate when the other countries allow people from India to come inside their borders.

“In our case, we started with a mandatory 14-day quarantine — 7 days institutional and 7 day self quarantine. Now we have introduced an innovation, if you are carrying a certificate of an RT-PCR test done in the last 96 hours you can go through the green channel. We are opening up these things so that we move towards normalcy,” he had said.

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