New Delhi: Amid Omicron scare, aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Thursday extended suspension of scheduled commercial international flights till January 31, 2022.
The restriction will not apply to cargo flights and those approved by DGCA.
“However, international scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes by the competent authority on case to case basis,” the DGCA said in a circular.
The nodal Civil Aviation Ministry had earlier announced to resume regular international flights from December 15 but in view of the emergence of Omicron, Prime Minister Narendra Modi advised the Ministry to reconsider its decision.
In view of Covid pandemic, the DGCA had last year suspended scheduled commercial international flights with effect from March 23, 2020.
On November 26, the Aviation Ministry announced to allow regular commercial flights from December 15.
“The matter of resumption of scheduled commercial international passenger services to/from India has been examined in consultation with the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) and it has been decided that scheduled commercial international passenger services to/from India may be resumed from 15.12.2021,” the Ministry had said.
The Ministry grouped countries into three categories with separate capacity restrictions.
Accordingly, it proposed to allow full capacity entitlements per bilateral air service agreements with countries identified as “not-at-risk.”
With countries identified as “at risk”, it was proposed to allow 75% of pre-Covid operations of Indian or foreign carrier with certain rider.
In case of countries identified as “at risk” and with which air bubble pact had not been formalised, 50% of bilateral capacity entitlements or 50% of pre-Covid operations of Indian or foreign carrier had been proposed.