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Covid: India extends ban on international commercial flights

The suspension will prolong till February 28
International scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes
International scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes
Representational picture

Our Special Correspondent   |   New Delhi   |   Published 20.01.22, 01:35 AM

The ban on international commercial flights has been extended by the DGCA till the end of February because of the Covid pandemic in the country.

However, the restrictions do not apply to international all-cargo operations, the official statement released by DGCA said.


International scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes by the competent authority on a case-to-case basis, the notice added. Flights under the air bubble arrangement will not be affected.

India suspended international flight operations from March 23, 2020. This has been periodically extended.

India has air transport bubbles with Afghanistan, Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Canada, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Iraq, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Maldives, Mauritius, Nepal, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Tanzania, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the US and Uzbekistan.

The agreements allow both-way air travel under some terms and conditions.

In November 2021, the government had planned to resume scheduled international flight operations from December 15. However, the emergence of Omicron threw a spanner in the plan and the government withdrew the decision to resume scheduled international flights.

India’s airlines are flying towards their steepest-ever net loss of more than Rs 20,000 crore this fiscal, 44 per cent more than the Rs 13,853 crore loss last fiscal, owing to the twin headwinds of the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic and high aviation turbine fuel prices, rating agency Crisil said in a report.

This would push back the industry’s recovery beyond fiscal 2023, a Crisil Ratings analysis shows.

The report is based on three large listed airlines — IndiGo, SpiceJet, and Air India — which have a 75 per cent share in domestic traffic.

Domestic air traffic had seen a swift recovery after the second Covid wave and reached 86% of the pre-Covid level in December 2021, while regular international flights were expected to start after January 2022.

However, the third wave has already caused domestic air traffic to plummet 25% in the first week of January. A similar trend was observed during the second wave in April and May 2021 when air traffic declined 25% and 66%, respectively, on a sequential basis.

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