India on Friday further extended suspension on international commercial passenger flights till 31 August in the wake of novel coronavirus pandemic in the country, said Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
"However, this restriction shall not apply to international all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved by DGCA," an official statement added.
The aviation regulator also noted that during the suspension period due to Covid-19, more than 2,500 repatriation flights by foreign carriers to uplift stranded passengers to and from India have been approved.
Under the Vande Bharat Mission, in total, Air India and Air India Express have uplifted 2,67,436 stranded passengers and other charters have uplifted 4,86,811 stranded passengers during the period from 6th May to 30th July, 2020, the government said in a statement.
To allow gradual movement of passenger traffic, 'Transport Bubble' agreements have been signed with USA, France, and Germany.
India is planning to establish a bubble with the UK soon under which there would be two flights per day between Delhi and London. "We have got a request from Germans also. I think the arrangement with Lufthansa is almost done...We are processing that request," Puri said.
On July 9, India had announced an air bubble with the UAE that would be in place from July 12 to 26.
Recently, 'Transport Bubble' agreement had been signed with Kuwait to uplift stranded passenger both to and from India. More similar arrangements are likely to fructify and ease passenger movements from different countries, the regulator said in a statement.
On the other hand, Union civil aviation ministry Hardeep Singh Puri earlier said domestic flights in India may touch 55-60% of pre-Covid operations by mid-November, which is around the same time as Diwali.
Puri also said, there might be a short extension on the airfare cap on domestic flights beyond 24 August due to muted demand.
Scheduled international passenger flights have been suspended in India since 25 March in the wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak. Domestic flight operations were allowed to resume from 25 May, albeit with a limited capacity, after a gap of two months.