Centre Extends Ban on International Passenger Flights Till March 31 as Coronavirus Rears Its Head Again

·2-min read

In a circular issued by aviation regulator DGCA, the Centre extended the ban on international commercial flights till March 31. The ban on scheduled overseas flights was to end on February 28 after an eleven-month gap.

“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 2359 hours IST of 31st March, 2021,” DGCA said.

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The restrictions will not apply to international all-cargo operations and flights specially approved by the aviation body.

“However, International Scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes by the competent authority on a case-to-case basis,” the circular added.

The restrictions on international flights in the country were announced in March last year to check the transmission of the coronavirus. Over the months, the Centre, which is the highest executive authority in matters related to the pandemic, has eased restrictions in most of the sectors of the economy but not the international flight operations.

Last December, the authorities had placed a ban on flights to and from the United Kingdom over the discovery of a highly contagious strain of the coronavirus in the European country. The ban was later revoked.

The Home Ministry on Friday also said the existing Covid-19 guidelines will remain in force till March 31. In a statement, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said while there has been a substantial decline in the active and new Covid-19 cases, there is need to maintain surveillance, containment and caution so as to fully overcome the pandemic.

The states and union territories have also been advised to speed up the vaccination of the target population so as to break the chain of transmission and overcome the pandemic.