No Surprise: International flight India ban extended until October 31, 2021

In March 2020, it became apparent that international flights in India will not operate anytime soon. Since then, Air India has been operating repatriation flights, and the Government of India has stitched up Air Bubbles with various countries. Non-stop flights are only permitted to these countries at the moment.

A new order was passed by the Government of India a few months ago as a part of their plan to open up the lockdown. The new order notifies that international air travel opening up will be decided by the Ministry of Civil Aviation in consultation with India’s Ministry of Home Affairs.

a screenshot of a computer

This is a change in tonality and gave many people hoped that India would immediately open international flights. That did not happen, unfortunately.

International Flight India Ban

Given India’s raging pandemic earlier in 2021, India had been shut down by over 20 countries, including Canada, UK, UAE, Kuwait, MaldivesSingapore, Australia, New Zealand and Oman. The USA had notified US Citizens to leave India as soon as possible.

Currently, India has ‘Air Bubble’ Agreements with 27 nations and certain other Vande Bharat flights. I gather this to clarify to the other airlines operating in India how long they should not be planning operations in India. The terrible news is, the decision is postponed, and there is no final timeline for opening up Commercial international aviation, and it could go on longer.

The DGCA has now put up a notification further extending the ban till October 2021. The Air Bubble flights and Vande Bharat flights are excluded from this notification.

a document with a signature

I have been continuously bemused at this notification coming out every month end like clockwork, which shows the lack of planning and foresight, or the humility to accept the situation as it is on the ground for now. India is now in the second wave, and many states are already talking of a third wave. So I don’t see we will ride out of this and open up to international travel anytime soon until we get many of our people vaccinated. That means a good 5-6 months before things change. Why not just pass an order for six months so that airlines which cannot operate in India in the period move on and use their resources better in other countries.


India has once again extended its air travel ban by a month rather than by a longer timeframe. This means regular commercial air travel is off limits till October 31, 2021. On the other hand, many countries have now started to open up to vaccinated Indian travellers, but we don’t want their travellers coming in anytime soon. Foxes me.

What do you make of this International Flight India ban? 

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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. Thanks Ajay for your one sided intervention.

    People like Gaspard may question the sovereign decisions of our government and have an opinion on it but when we Indians question the decisions of the developed world we sound political.

    By the way I’ve no plans to travel to the UK in the near future but as an Indian felt the decision of UK was racist to say the least. It wasn’t personal but I feel we Indians deserve better.

    Anyways it’s your blog and your business to administer it the way you like hence forth you won’t see any comments from my side on any topic whatsoever.

    Good luck to you.


    • @Yogesh, no one questioned our sovereignty, and I echo your thoughts about UK’s decision being not well thought out, but to pin down one person, just because he is not from India, is unfair. Hope you understand.

  2. It’s very strange and surprising that the indians who are vaccinated with covishield in India and if they visit UK and return after testing negative with in 72 hours before departure and also tested negative on arrival at the international Airport in India are required to quarantine at home for 14 days by the authorities in India.

  3. I agree. My (swiss) government is welcoming vaccinated Indians with a visa, without any quarantine. Covishield is accepted.

    • Hey Gaspard,

      Good to know that your Swiss government is not discriminating and welcoming Indians. Work with your government to talk to our government for a solution.

      Meanwhile, what do you think about the discrimination of the UK government.


  4. They really exagerate. I totally agree with you. It is unacceptable that foreign countries accept vaccinated Indians and at the same time vaccinated foreigners are not allowed to fly to India. It is not only a violation of international agreements and human rights, a crime against the economy, but it is also a medical nonsense. The worst wave in India occured when the country was under the flight ban regime since one year. Do they at least study the case of the so many countries that never had any flight ban and do better medically ? Mexico for instance never had any international flight ban, never had any medical requirement from march 2020 til now, and they did not face any health catastrophy (I was there three times since december 2020).
    It is also unacceptable that they make fake promises every month, so that airlines must cancel their already planned flights.
    I was full of hope, because a few days ago Modi announced that the country would be open again for tourists soon. Once again a fake promise.
    Sorry for saying that. but they must now stop this monthly joke.
    I am personaly a victim of this, because for personal reasons, I am facing very hard consequences of this inexplicable and unexplained decisions. That’s why I allow me to tell my opinion frankly, exactly as I do on the policy of other sovereign countries, including mine.
    There are much more important and concrete things than the illusion of avoiding an improbable contagion.

    • Hey Gaspard,

      We may or may not agree with our government as Indians is our business but before preaching to us just take a hard look how Indian travellers are out through tremendous amount of unreasonable and unwarranted inconvenience when we travel.

      UK is quarantining fully vaccinated Indians even though they might be vaccinated with Covishield which is the same Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine that the NHS in UK is using, do you consider that fair?

      I appreciate your excitement to visit India but foreign relations work on the principle of reciprocity, if you want to be welcomed in our country work with your government to welcome us in your country.


      • I agree. My (swiss) government is welcoming vaccinated Indians with a visa, without any quarantine. Covishield is accepted.

        • Hey Gaspard,

          Good to know that your Swiss government is not discriminating and welcoming Indians. Work with your government to talk to our government for a solution.

          Meanwhile, what do you think about the discrimination of the UK government.


          • @Yogesh, I find it in bad taste that you feel the comments section is a place to pin down people for their opinion. Why does @Gaspard or anyone else need to share what their opinion is about any other government’s moves? Just because you could not perhaps travel to the UK? I would appreciate it if this stops now. If you’d like to debate, make it constructive.

          • All these discriminations are absurd, inhuman, violations of human rights and international agreements. And they are ineffective. Governments want to give the illlusion that they do something effective, but all these measures are superstitious and medically absurd. On the other hand, the catastrophic human, social, economic, psychological consequences of these measures are real.

    • Herr Gaspard! You are absolutely right! Modi is a Fake and this monthly ban announced at the end of every month is an idiotic distasteful joke! Lot of people have been vaccinated! The ban on international flights must be lifted now, of course after following/observing certain precautions; like wearing protective masks, etc. But, the ban should be lifted now, hopefully by Divali

    • Hr Gaspard! You are absolutely right. Modi is a Fake! Every month the ban is extended abruptly at the end of every month at the end of the month! It is like a sick disgusting idiotic joke! It is high time the ban is now lifted, as a majority of people are already vaccinated. Of course necessary precautions like wearing masks must be mandatory! Hope some sense will prevail by Divali and ban is uplifted.

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