The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Friday said that international commercial flight operations to and from India will remain suspended till July 15. However, the civil aviation watchdog further added that the it may allow a few international scheduled flights on selected routes. International flights were stopped in India on March 23 when a nationwide lockdown was announced to stop the spread of coronavirus. While domestic flights resumed in the country after over two months of lockdown on May 25, restarting international operation is likely to take some more time.
“The competent authority has decided that scheduled international commercial passenger services to or from India shall remain suspended till 2359 hrs IST of July 15, 2020. However, international scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes by the competent authority on a case to case basis,” a circular issued by the DGCA stated.
Speaking during a press conference last week, Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had said decision in resuming international flights may be taken in July if “coronavirus behaves in a predictable manner”.
“I am often asked, when can you start international civil aviation? If you leave it to me, and if the ecosystem works, and if we have the predictability in terms of behaviour of the virus, I think in the coming month we should start taking the decision. But those decisions will not be taken by the Indian civil aviation ministry. Those decisions will be taken by the governments after looking at their domestic situation,” news agency PTI quoted Puri, as saying.
National carrier Air India and a few other private airlines have been operating international flights under the Vande Bharat Mission to bring back Indians struck foreign countries amid the coronavirus pandemic. According to reports, over 90,000 Indians have been brought back from 52 countries since May 6 when the Vande Bharat Mission started. As many as 24,000 have been flown out of the country to their respective destinations under the mission so far.