NEW DELHI: Schedule international passenger flights will now remain suspended till the month-end, except for those allowed by the government on a case to case basis. These flights were suspended on March 22, 2020, and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had recently said they would remain suspended till July 15. On Friday, the DGCA issued a circular extending the suspension till 11.59 pm of July 31.
“ … Scheduled international commercial passenger services to/from India (shall remain suspended) till 11.59 pm of July 31. This restriction shall not apply to international all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved by DGCA. However, international scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes on a case to case basis,” says a DGCA circular issued Friday by deputy DG Sunil Kumar.
India is working on creating travel bubbles with US, Canada and European countries to resume international flights to and from these countries. To enable reverse repatriation of Indians who are currently here and need to return to their jobs, homes and families in the Gulf, India is in talks to allow airlines of both sides (India and Gulf countries like UAE) to operate charters with passengers on both to and from India. At present India’s Vande Bharat Mission repatriation flights can only fly passengers one-way — from UAE to India — while there is tremendous demand for Indians to fly back to the Gulf too.
Airports Authority of India (AAI) chairman Arvind Singh had said on Thursday: “The travel bubble arrangement is being made with US, Canada and some European countries under which airlines of both sides will be able to operate flights on that bubble. For instance, airlines of India and the US will do so on India-US travel bubble.”
For India and Gulf, India is not looking at creating travel bubble but allowing charters to be operated by airlines of both sides that will carry passengers both ways. While one way, Gulf-India, will be repatriation flights for Indian carriers, they will be able to sell tickets for India-Gulf sector. Ditto will be the case of Gulf carriers, under the arrangement being worked out.