Relaxing the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions on international travel, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has announced to finally resume the international passenger flight operations from March 27, 2022. This came after the ban on scheduled international flight operations remained in practice for almost two years starting from March 23, 2020, to restrict the nascent rise of Covid-19 cases in the country.
The DGCA took the decision to liberate international travel between India and foreign countries considering the global vaccination coverage. In the wake of rising Covid-19 cases in the country, international flight operations to and from India were suspended in March 2020. Earlier, the DGCA had taken a step to revoke the ban on international travel from December 15, 2021, but owing to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, the ban was further extended ahead.
The DGCI in its statement today, said, “After having recognized the increased vaccination coverage across the globe and in consultation with the stakeholders, the Government of India has decided to resume scheduled commercial international passenger services to/from India from 27.03.2022, i.e. start of Summer Schedule 2022,”
The DGCI clarified that the suspension of scheduled commercial international passenger services to/from India, thus, stands extended till 2359 hrs IST on 26.03.2022 and air bubble arrangements shall accordingly be extended to this extent only. However, the statement asserted, “The international operations shall be subject to strict adherence to the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare guidelines for international travel dated 10.02.2022 and as amended from time to time.”
Central Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya M. Scindia gave the news on Twitter saying, “After deliberation with stakeholders and keeping in view the decline in the Covid-19 caseload, we have decided to resume international travel from Mar 27 onwards. Air Bubble arrangements will also stand revoked thereafter. With this step, I’m confident the sector will reach new heights!”
After deliberation with stakeholders &keeping in view the decline in the #COVID19 caseload,we have decided to resume international travel from Mar 27 onwards.Air Bubble arrangements will also stand revoked thereafter.With this step,I’m confident the sector will reach new heights!— Jyotiraditya M. Scindia (@JM_Scindia) March 8, 2022
During the ban, however, special international flights continued to operate under the Central Government’s Vande Bharat Mission from May 2020 itself after the bilateral air-bubble agreements were signed with 32 countries including the US, the UK, the UAE, Kenya, Bhutan and France. The decision will boost international interaction with respect to trade, education and travel and will also accelerate the economic activity post-Coronavirus.