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India’s ban on commercial international flights extended


India’s ban on scheduled international commercial passenger flights extended until “further orders”. The Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) issued the order on Monday, 28 February. According to the order, the international cargo flights and flights that are specially approved would not be affected by the ban extension.

India has several flights right now that are flying under air bubble arrangement. India has this form of air transport bubbles with 40 other countries, including Bahrain, Bangladesh, Canada, Ethiopia, Kenya, Finland, France, Germany, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Maldives, United Arab Emirates, Mauritius, Nepal, Netherlands, Uzbekistan, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Bhutan, Rwanda, Seychelles,Australia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Tanzania, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and the United States of America.

In the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak, the government of India banned scheduled commercial flights for international transport on the 23rd of March 2020. The nation went under a complete lockdown, and all kinds of transportation within the country and outside of the country were restricted and banned. This ban on international flights was intended for up to 23 months when issued initially.

In November 2021, the DGCA had made a statement that the banned would be withdrawn by the 15th of December 2020, and the to and fro international transport would begin. But later that year, there was a high surge of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 in the country, and the government imposed several new measures to control the new variant. The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, asked DGCA and the Civil Aviation Ministry to review the ban's progress. Therefore the plan for withdrawing the ban in December 2021 was suspended by the agencies. India began the Air bubble method of transportation in July 2020 for the sole convenience of the people affected by the flight ban or other issues.

Lately, the government launched a new evacuation and rescue mission named “Operation – Ganga” to aid Indian students and other Indians who got stranded in the war-torn country Ukraine. The special flights for this operation start from countries like Romania, Poland, and Hungary, which are neighbouring Ukraine.

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