International flights to remain suspended till January 31, says DGCA amid Omicron concerns

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The central aviation body the new rule was in slight modification of its circular issued on November 26 that had allowed scheduled international flights to operate from December 15.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said on Thursday that suspension of international commercial passenger services to and from India will remain suspended till January 31, 2022. The DGCA said the restriction shall not apply to international cargo operations and flights specifically approved by it.

The order came amid rising concerns of the spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant of the coronavirus disease in the country. 

The regulator issued a circular on Thursday, saying “The competent authority has decided to extend the suspension of scheduled international commercial passenger services to and from India till 2359 hours of January 31, 2022.”

Also read | Omicron: Singapore dropped from India’s ‘at-risk’ nations list. Details here

The central aviation body the new rule was in slight modification of its circular issued on November 26 that had allowed scheduled international flights to operate from December 15.

“The matter has been reviewed and the competent authority has decided to resume the scheduled commercial international passenger services to/from India with effect from 15 December 2021,” the order had read.

On December 1, the DGCA had decided to not go ahead with this order soon after Omicron cases were detected in the country.

Also read | Omicron: Centre asks states, UTs to stay prepared for possible Covid surge

Scheduled international passenger services have remained suspended in the country since March 23, 2020, in view of the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, special international flights have been operating under the Vande Bharat Mission since May 2020 and under bilateral “air bubble” arrangements with selected countries since July 2020.

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