HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The reopening of scheduled commercial international passenger airline services to or from India by the DGCA has been delayed
  • The decision comes amid fear of the Omicron variant
  • Aviation regulator DGCA informed that it will announce the dates of international flight resumption in due time
  • Sources claimed that the commercial international flights will reopen only after the government finds them safe

Today, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) informed that the reopening of scheduled commercial international passenger airline services to or from India has been canceled that was supposed to be started from December 15, 2021 due to the rising fear of the new covid-19 variant named omicron. The DCGA further stated that it will announce its decision on the same in due time.

Last month, there was a meeting in which the Centre announced that commercial international flights shall resume from December 15, after a long hiatus of more than 20 months in between. Now, another notice has been issued by the regulatory body on civil aviation.

According to the notice, the government is likely hitting the brakes on the resumption of commercial international flights and the relevant authorities are monitoring the global COVID-19 scenario. This comes as a new COVID-19 variant, the Omicron variant which has been first detected in South Africa, has been termed as a ‘variant of concern’ by WHO.

“In view of the global scenario with the emergence of new variants of concern, the situation is being monitored closely in consultation with all stakeholders. An appropriate decision indicating the effective date of resumption of scheduled commercial international passenger services shall be notified in due course”, read the notice

Sources claimed that the commercial international flights will reopen only after the government finds it safe. Meanwhile, the international ‘air bubble’ agreements with different countries shall continue to function.

Earlier, Junior Aviation Minister, Gen (retired) VK Singh had said that there was ‘immense pressure’ from the public for the last two months. India has introduced a new set of rules from December 1, which is applicable on arriving international passengers, especially from risk countries. The protocols include detailed guidelines on testing, sampling, and quarantine of cases detected at the airport.

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