India extends ban on international flights till 28 February

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The Indian government has extended the ban on international commercial flights till 28 February, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said in a circular. Earlier, the ban on scheduled overseas flights was supposed to end on 31 January after a ten-month gap.

Dedicated cargo flights and those specifically allowed by the civil aviation regulator such as flights under the bilateral air bubble pacts with select countries will continue to operate, the civil aviation watchdog said. A bilateral air bubble is a mechanism to resume flights between India and other nations with preconditions during the pandemic.

International scheduled flights may be allowed on select routes by the competent authority on a case-to-case basis, the DGCA circular added.

India currently has bilateral air bubble agreement with about 24 countries, which include countries like Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Canada, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Iraq, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Maldives, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Rwanda, Tanzania, Ukraine, the UAE, UK, and the US.

The government is also likely to get into similar agreements with Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia in the coming weeks.