International flights will not resume from December 15, says India’s aviation regulator

India on Wednesday postponed the resumption of commercial international passenger flights due to concerns over the new Omicron variant of coronavirus. The services were scheduled to resume on December 15.

In a circular issued on Wednesday, aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation that the new date for resumption of international flights will be announced later.

On Friday, the DGCA had announced that international flights would resume on December 15. However, it had laid down several restrictions for 12 regions and countries that were designated as “at risk”.

Both domestic and international flights were suspended at the beginning of the Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020. However, since June 2020, the government allowed limited operations of Air India flights under the “Vande Bharat” mission for certain categories like Overseas Citizenship of India, Persons of Indian Origin card-holders and other Indians who were stuck abroad due to the pandemic.

Subsequently, restrictions were eased in a phased manner as India entered into air bubble agreements with several countries. Under a bilateral air bubble agreement, both countries can operate to and fro flights with some restrictions. As of November 22, India has air bubble agreements with 31 countries.

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