New Delhi, 26th November: Indian airspace regulator Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has extended the ban on international flights till December 31 as the country tackles a rising number of COVID-19 cases in different states.

These restrictions, however, will not apply to international all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), an official circular said.

As per the earlier order on October 28, the suspension of flights was applicable till November 30. However, the regulator added that the international scheduled flights might be allowed on certain routes by the competent authority on a case-to-case basis.

“In partial modification of circular dated 26.6.2020, the competent authority has further extended the validity of circular issued on the subject cited above regarding scheduled international commercial passenger services to/from India till 2359 hours (IST) of December 31, 2020,” the DGCA said in the circular.

The suspension of international commercial passenger flights from/to India, which has been in place since March 23 in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic was to expire on November 30.

In the absence of regular flight service overseas routes, special international flights are being operated under the Vande Bharat Mission since May and under bilateral “air bubble” arrangements with selected countries since July. Currently, India has established air bubbles with nearly 18 countries, which includes the US, the United Kingdom, France, the UAE, Qatar, and the Maldives, Kenya, and Bhutan, among others.