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Business News/ News / India/  Govt rolls back plans to resume scheduled international flights
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Govt rolls back plans to resume scheduled international flights

Major economies across the world have rushed to take precautionary measures after scientists said they had found a highly virulent and possibly vaccine-resistant variant of the covid-19 virus in South Africa

Scheduled international flights have remained suspended in India since March last year after the coronavirus pandemic hit.Premium
Scheduled international flights have remained suspended in India since March last year after the coronavirus pandemic hit.

NEW DELHI:The Indian government has rolled back plans to resume scheduled international flight operations from 15 December, five days after making the announcement, following the emergence of the Omicron coronavirus mutant.

"In the view of the evolving global scenario with the emergence of new variants of concern, the situation is being watched closely in consultation with all stakeholders and an appropriate decision indicating the effective date of resumption of scheduled commercial international passenger services will be notified in due course," civil aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said in a notification on Wednesday.

A copy of the circular has been reviewed by Mint.

India suspended international flight operations, effective 23 March 2020. This was periodically extended every month till 30 November, before the government on 26 November announced plans to resume scheduled international flight services.

Prior to 26 November, international flights operated between India and other countries under bilateral air bubble agreements.

India currently has air bubble agreements with as many as 30 countries—from Afghanistan and Bangladesh to Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore, the UAE, UK and US, among the others.

“Resumption of scheduled commercial international passenger services with effect from 15 December 2021 would imply reversion to bilaterally agreed capacity entitlements and termination of air bubble arrangements. However, due to prevailing covid-19 situation, the capacity entitlements shall be as per the category of countries based on the enlistment of countries," DGCA had said in 26 November circular.

International flights will continue under air bubble agreements, till further notification, said a senior DGCA official, who spoke under the condition of anonymity.

"Bookings (if any) made on scheduled international flights that was supposed to resume from 15 December will now have to be rescheduled," the official added.

Major economies across the world have rushed to take precautionary measures after scientists said they had found a highly virulent and possibly vaccine-resistant variant of the covid-19 virus in South Africa.

The UK has said the 'Omicron' variant was the most significant one found yet, and banned flights from six southern African countries - South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, and Namibia.

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen has said that the EU also aimed to halt air travel from the region, describing the variant in a recent tweet as “of concern".

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rhik Kundu
Rhik writes about the Indian economy and its crucial indicators. He is constantly navigating corporates, decoding policies, and dabbling with everything in between.
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Published: 01 Dec 2021, 03:41 PM IST
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