New Delhi: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Wednesday delayed the resumption of commercial international airline services – tentatively scheduled for December 15 to or from India – in view of the emergence of the new Covid variant Omicron, mentioning that it will notify its decision on the same in due time.
In a meeting late last month, the central government had announced that commercial international flights shall resume from December 15, after a long hiatus of more than 20 months in between. That decision, however, came under renewed scrutiny as recently as last Sunday, when the government reviewed the strategy following reports of omicron’s emergence.
Indicating that the current “air bubble” system of travel will continue, a note from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation today read: “In view of the merging global scenario… the situation is being watched closely in consultation with all stakeholders and an appropriate decision indicating the effective date of resumption of scheduled commercial international passenger services shall be notified in due course”.
Omicron surfaces as the devastating effects of the second wave, powered by the Delta variant of the virus, were subsiding. Normal work had resumed in offices, schools were slowly resuming and even normal international flight situation was about to resume.
But practically overnight, restrictions were back.
This morning, the Centre announced a series of guidelines for airports that include testing on arrival for passengers from ‘at risk’ countries. A negative result is essential to leave the airport.
Two per cent (selected at random) of arrivals from other countries will also be tested. They can leave before the result is declared, but must home isolate for at least a week and report any Covid-related symptom.