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 that has signed up Air Bubbles with India, and we have about 32 of these air bubbles.
India had planned to resume scheduled operations on December 15, 2021, but declared that they will “review” their decision in light of the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV2 virus surfacing, and basically postponing the reopening of international commercial aviation. The review is complete, and the government of India has come to a decision.
International Flight India Ban
The DGCA has now put up a notification further extending the ban till January 2022. The Air Bubble flights and Vande Bharat flights are excluded from this notification.
This is terrible news for airlines, who will now have to go ahead and cancel flights they would have lined up to operate to India effective December 15, 2021. This is also terrible news for customers, who might have looked forward to coming back to India after a year or eighteen months, with fares having already skyrocketed due to the paucity of flights for a while.
Air Bubble Flights will continue, as reiterated by DGCA
In continuation to DGCA Circular No. 4/1/2020-IR dated 9.12.2021 on Travel & Visa Restrictions related to COVID-19, it is clarified to all concerned that all international flights under existing Bubble Agreements shall continue to operate till 31st of January 2022.
— DGCA (@DGCAIndia) December 9, 2021
India has once again extended its air travel ban. This means regular commercial air travel is off limits till January 30, 2022. I hope this time around this is the final timeline to reopening of operations and not just another extension.
What do you make of this International Flight India ban?
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