On the 30th of April, the Union Civil Aviation Ministry extended the imposed ban on international passenger flights till the 31st of May. The decision was taken by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA,) in the wake of the Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19 rise and the ongoing second wave.
This is the 4th time India imposed a ban on international passenger flights. The first such ban was in March 2020, when the first nationwide lockdown was imposed. Second time, on the 31st of August, the Civil Aviation Ministry imposed a ban till the 31st of September, to curb the spread of the virus. Third was in March 2021, due to the second wave of the Novel Coronavirus. The imposed ban was till the 30th of April, following which the Union Ministry decided to extend the ban.
The Aviation Regulatory Body, DGCA, said, “…the competent authority has further extended the validity of circular issued on the subject cited above regarding Scheduled International commercial passenger services to/from India till 23:59 hrs IST of 31 May, 2021. This restriction shall not apply to international all cargo operations and flights specifically approved by DGCA.”
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, India has a bilateral air bubble arrangement for the operation of special international passenger flights. The arrangements are in effect with 28 countries, including Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Canada, France, Germany, Iraq, Japan, the Maldives, Nigeria, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E., the United Kingdom (U.K.,) and the United States of America (U.S.A.)
The other countries with which India has such a pact are Bangladesh, Bhutan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Kuwait, Nepal, Netherlands, Oman, Russia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Tanzania, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
On the other hand, due to the second wave of COVID-19 in India, nations like Australia and Hong Kong have imposed restrictions on flights connecting them with India.
As of now, India has close to 18 million positive cases, of which 29 lakhs are active cases and more than 2 lakh people died due to the deadly virus. With this, India is also the second worst COVID-19 hit Nation, first is the United States of America with 32.5 million COVID-19 cases.
Stay tuned for further updates.