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India extends suspension of International flights till May 31

By Priyanka Verma 
Updated Date

NEW DELHI: The government has extended suspension of scheduled international flights till May 31, 2021. However Vande Bharat Mission and scheduled flights under the travel bubbles India has so far created — which are currently not suspended by other countries — will continue and people eligible as per government norms can fly to and from India on them. The earlier deadline for flights suspension was to end today.

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“However, international scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes by the competent authority on a case to case basis,” the DGCA said in a circular.

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The restriction shall not apply to international all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved by the aviation regulator, it added.

Scheduled international passenger services have been suspended in India since March 23 last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. But special international flights have been operating under the Vande Bharat Mission since May last year, and under bilateral “air bubble” arrangements with selected countries since July.

Earlier this week, Australia announced a temporary ban on direct passenger flights from India as New Delhi battles a calamitous rise in coronavirus infections.

It follows similar moves by countries including Canada, the United Arab Emirates and Britain to halt or restrict flights in response to the spiralling Covid crisis in India.

This morning, the country saw another record spike with 3.86 lakh Covid cases, taking the caseload to 1.87 crore. International support has started arriving with the United States, the United Kingdom and several other countries sending Covid emergency supplies.

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The huge spike in infections has precipitated restrictive measures, night curfews in certain states. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in an address to the nation this month, urged state governments to use lockdowns as an absolute “last resort”. The country has crossed the grim milestone of 2,00,000 Covid deaths.

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