NEW DELHI :
The Indian government on Thursday banned commercial international airlines to operate to India for a week from 22 March, following an effort to curb the outspread of Covid-19, which has already seen the country temporarily ban foreigners from entering it.
"No scheduled international commercial passenger aircraft shall be allowed to land in India from March 22, 2020 for one week," the government said in an advisory.
In addition to the government advisory, the Indian aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said in a separate statement that while a maximum time of 20 hours is permissible for international commercial passenger aircraft to land in India, no aircraft will be allowed to disembark passengers on Indian soil, both Indians and foreigners, after 8 pm on 22 March.
"These instructions are are in additions to the travel restrictions /advisories already issued and under implementation," DGCA circular added.
International airlines like Etihad, Emirates, British Airways, Lufthansa were not immediately available for comments.
“We will assess the impact of this announcement on our operations and take the appropriate action," Singapore Airline said in a statement.
As things stand, India has temporarily banned the entry of foreigners into the country till 15 April in a bid to contain the spread of Covid-19 epidemic which have claimed several thousands of lives worldwide.
Globally, over 9,115 people have died due to Covid-19, while the number of those infected crossed 222,642 cases, according to the latest data by Johns Hopkins University. Many governments, including the US have restricted the entry of foreigners as a precautionary measure to contain the virus.
Most Indian airlines have cancelled a significant number of international and domestic flights as travel restrictions hit transport and tourism sectors.
Aviation industry lobby group The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has warned that the COVID-19 outbreak, if not contained, could cost airlines globally as much as $113 billion in revenue loss.