Resumption of regular international flights on the anvil; likely by March

The Centre is likely to allow regular international flights to and from India from next month onwards

The Covid-19 wave had made it imperative for international flights to put off regular operations, as the pandemic showed no signs of easing. However, it looks like India might look towards resumption of regular international flights and relaxations rules for international passengers by March-April.

Though a final decision is yet to be taken, the Ministry of Civil Aviation is believed to be mulling over resuming regular international flights could resume from March-April to and from India.

To this effect, the Aviation Ministry has kicked off parleys with the talks with the Home and Health Ministries with regard to starting regular international flights to and from India again.

International flights suspension till Feb 28

As per government instructions, scheduled international passenger flights in India have been currently grounded. The suspension of flights is to continue till February 28.

Looking back, the suspension of scheduled international passenger flights had been brought into effect in the country since March 23, 2020. That would make it almost a year without scheduled regular international flights.

That doesn’t mean that there haven’t been any flights taking off and landing in Indian airports. Special passenger flights have deployed between India and close to 40 other countries since July 2020. All these flights have been operating with all Covid-19 protocols in place.

Set for resumption of flight operations

With the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) now notifying via a circular that it has been decided to extend the suspension of scheduled international commercial passenger services to and from India till 11.59 PM of February 28, 2022, it looks like March – April 2022 might see the full reopening of the skies yet again.

Meanwhile, the special flights will go on as usual under the air bubble arrangement. Similarly, the international all-cargo operations also will not see any hindrance in operations.

Though the DGCA had decided to resume scheduled international passenger flights from December 15, 2021, the decision was reviewed after the Centre advised it to revisit the decision in the wake of the unprecedented Omicron spread. Now, with hopes of a resumption of scheduled regular international flight operations in the air, it looks like we might see airline companies gearing up towards flying again as during earlier times.

Sanjeev Ramachandran

A journalist with 23 years of experience, Sanjeev has worked with reputed media houses such as Business Standard, The Ne More »
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