India has formed air bubble pacts with around 18 countries, including the US, the UK, the UAE, Kenya, Bhutan and France.

Aeroplanes parked at Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai for domestic travel during ongoing COVID-19 lockdown in Mumbai Monday May 25 2020Representative
news Aviation Wednesday, October 28, 2020 - 14:40

The suspension of scheduled international passenger flights has been extended till November 30 amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation said on Wednesday "However, the international scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes by the competent authority on a case-to-case basis," the Indian aviation regulator said in a circular.

The scheduled international passenger services have been suspended in India since March 23 due to the coronavirus pandemic. But special international flights have been operating under the Vande Bharat Mission since May and under the bilateral 'air bubble' arrangements with selected countries since July.

India has formed air bubble pacts with around 18 countries, including the US, the UK, the UAE, Kenya, Bhutan and France. Under an air bubble pact between two countries, special international flights can be operated by their airlines between their territories.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) circular also mentioned that the suspension does not affect the operation of international all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved by it.

The scheduled domestic passenger flights resumed in India on May 25 after a gap of two months amid the pandemic situation.

The Ministry of Home Affairs on Tuesday extended the Unlock 5.0 guidelines, which were issued on September 30, by another month, till November 30. Earlier, the guidelines for reopening activities issued on September 30 were to be in force till October 31.

The current guidelines allow various activities like opening of cinemas, theatres and multiplexes outside containment zones with up to 50 percent of their seating capacity The guidelines said that international travel, except those permitted by the Centre, would remain shut while state and UT governments were given the flexibility to decide on reopening of schools and coaching institutions in a graded manner.

The decision has been taken in consultation with the respective school and institution management, based on their assessment of the situation, and subject to certain conditions, according to the guidelines.

The activities permitted in areas outside the containment zones were -- cinemas, theatres and multiplexes with up to 50 percent of their seating capacity, Business to Business (B2B) exhibitions, swimming pools used for training of sportspersons, entertainment parks and similar places.

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