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NEW DELHI: India on Wednesday extended the ban on international commercial flights till 28 February, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said in a circular.

Dedicated cargo flights, flights under the bilateral air bubble pacts with select countries will continue to operate, the civil aviation watchdog said.

A bilateral air bubble allows flights between India and other nations with preconditions during the pandemic.

India currently has bilateral air bubble agreements with about 35 countries, including Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Canada, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Iraq, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, the Maldives, Mauritius, Nepal, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Tanzania, Ukraine, the UAE, the UK, Uzbekistan and the US.

The Indian government had in December rolled back plans to resume scheduled international flights following the emergence of the Omicron variant of coronavirus.

India suspended international flight operations on 23 March 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic hit the country. This was periodically extended every month till November last year. On 26 November, it had announced plans to resume scheduled international flight services but soon rolled back the decision.

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