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The coronavirus-induced suspension of scheduled international passenger flights has been extended till 30 September, aviation regulator DGCA said on Sunday.

"However, international scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes by the competent authority on a case-to-case basis," the Directorate General of Civil Aviation added.

The ban on scheduled overseas flights was to end on 31 August after a 17-month gap.

Scheduled international passenger services have been suspended in India since March 23, 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic. But 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.

DGCA said,"Dedicated cargo flights, flights under the bilateral air bubble pacts with select countries will continue to operate."

"In a partial modification on a circular dated June 26, 2021, the competent authority has further extended the validity of the circular issued on the subject cited above regarding Scheduled International commercial passenger service to/from India till 2359 hrs IST of 30th September 2021," stated the DGCA circular.

"This restriction shall not apply to international all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved by DGCA. However, International Scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes by the competent authority on case to case basis," further stated the circular.

India has formed air-bubble pacts with around 28 countries, including the US, the UK, the UAE, Kenya, Bhutan and France. Under an air-bubble pact between two countries, special international flights can be operated by their airlines between their territories.

Under an air bubble pact between two countries, special international flights can be operated by their airlines between their territories.

The DGCA circular also said that the suspension does not affect the operation of international all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved by it.

Meanwhile,Domestic air passenger traffic jumped 57 per cent to around 49 lakh in July, reflecting a significant sequential as well as year-on-year growth amid a decline in coronavirus infections, according to a report.

Recording continued recovery, traffic rose 56-57 per cent to 48-49 lakh in July compared to June this year when it was about 31.1 lakh. As against June 2020, the growth is 132 per cent, rating agency Icra said in the report.

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