The ban on international flights to and from India has been extended till October 31 owing to unrelenting rise in the pandemic across the country. This ban will not apply to international all-cargo and international scheduled flights approved by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) said on Wednesday.
The announcement by MoCA comes shortly after the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) released Unlock 5′ guidelines and few hours before the expiration of its earlier circular dated August 26, 2020, in which international travel ban was extended till September 30.
However, government will continue to operate international flights under the Air Bubble pact with various countries, including the US, UK, UAE and more. In total, government has an agreement with 13 different countries to ease the travel ban and allow free-flow of international flights from both the sides.
India has similar air bubble arrangements in place with the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bhutan, Kenya, Canada, Iraq, Japan, Maldives, Nigeria, Qatar, and UAE.
For countries where Air Bubble Agreement is not yet established, government is undertaking Vande Bharat Mission to repatriate stranded Indians.
Earlier today, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has added more destinations, including Bhutan and Kenya, to the list of countries where Indians can fly. Air bubbles between India and Bhutan and India and Kenya have now become operational, with national carriers of all three nations aiming to restore commercial passenger services to pre-pandemic level.
The circular said the suspension does not affect the operation of international all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved by the DGCA.