DGCA Suspends International Passenger Flights Over Omicron Fears

 - Sakshi Post

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) announced on Thursday that international commercial passenger services to and from India will be stopped till January 31, 2022. The DGCA stated that the limitation does not apply to international cargo operations or flights that have been specially approved by it. Concerns about the highly transmissible Omicron variant of the coronavirus illness spreading across the country prompted the directive. "The competent authority has decided to prolong the suspension of scheduled international commercial passenger services to and from India until 2359 hours of January 31, 2022," the regulator said in a circular released on Thursday.

The new rule was a slight modification of the central aviation body's November 26 circular, which had enabled scheduled international flights to begin operating on December 15. "The case has been examined, and the competent authority has agreed to restart scheduled commercial international passenger flights to/from India with effect from 15 December 2021," the order said. On December 1, the DGCA decided not to issue this order so soon after Omicron instances were discovered in the country.

Due to the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic, scheduled international passenger services have been suspended in the country since March 23, 2020. Special international flights, however, have been running since May 2020 under the Vande Bharat Mission and since July 2020 under bilateral "air bubble" arrangements with chosen countries.

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