• Friday, June 21, 2024

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Omicron: India extends international flight ban till January end

An Air India plane. (Photo: HAIDAR HAMDANI/AFP/Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

INDIA has extended restrictions on international flights till January 31, 2022, amid concerns over the Omicron variant of the deadly coronavirus, according to a circular issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the country’s civil aviation regulator.

International all-cargo operations and flights “specifically approved” by the DGCA have been exempted.

Regular operations of all international flights were supposed to resume on December 15 but the decision was put “on hold” till further notice on December 1, as the Omicron variant surfaced.

“In a partial modification of circular dated 26-11-2021, the competent authority has decided to extend the suspension of Scheduled International commercial passenger services to/from India till 2359 hrs of 31st January 2022. This restriction shall not apply to international all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved by DGCA,” the circular read.

“However, international scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes by the competent authority on case to case basis,” it added.

India’s scheduled international passenger services have remained suspended since March 23, 2020, due to Covid-19 pandemic. Only special international flights have been in operation under the Vande Bharat Mission since May last year and under bilateral air-bubble arrangements with countries since July 2020.

India has air bubble pacts with 31 countries, including the US, UK, UAE and France.

However, passengers arriving from 12 “at risk” regions (countries in Europe including the UK, South Africa, Brazil, Botswana, China, Ghana, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Hong Kong, Israel) have to undergo mandatory testing after their arrivals, receive their report at the airport and home quarantine for seven days if they test negative on arrival.

Such passengers have also been asked to watch their health from the eighth till the 14th day.

Singapore, which was also part of the list, was removed on Thursday (9).

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