India Extends Ban On International Passenger Flights Till September 30

by Yogita Chainani
India Extends Ban On International Passenger Flights Till September 30

Coronavirus cases in India are on the rise and to take all the preventive measures one can, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has extended the suspension of scheduled international passenger flights till September 30. Earlier, the DGCA announced that international commercial passenger flights shall remain suspended till August 31.

“However, international scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes by the competent authority on a case-to-case basis,” noted the DGCA in a circular.

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Flights To Continue Operations On Selected Routes

The scheduled international passenger service continues to remain halted in India since March 23. Meantime, several international flights have been operating under the Vande Bharat Mission. India launched this mission in May to evacuate Indians stranded in different parts of the world. These flights have been operating under bilateral air bubble arrangements with other countries since July.

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So far, India has created air bubbles with USA, UK, France, Germany, UAE, Qatar and Maldives. India is in talks with many more countries to create air bubbles. The country is in talks with Australia, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Nigeria, Bahrain, Israel, Kenya, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal and Bhutan. The idea behind these air bubbles is to secure continuity of travel between India and these countries by eligible categories of people till schedule flights resume. Air India currently operates flights to Singapore, UK, Netherlands and Germany. 

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DGCA Extends Fare Restrictions On Domestic Flights Till November 24

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) extended the fare cap on domestic flights till November 24, 2020. Earlier, the fare cap was placed till August 24. Now, the authorities have extended it for three more months. Amid the coronavirus outbreak, the Ministry of Aviation had implemented the fare restrictions for domestic flights. In a notification, DGCA has confirmed that flight capacity restrictions to 45 per cent and fare limits will be in effect till November 24. The Govt also warned people not to pay higher fares for Vande Bharat flights when booking with travel agents. 

The fare curbs were issued on May 21, four days before the resumption of domestic flights in India. As per the restrictions, domestic flights with less than 40-minute duration will have lower and upper limits of ₹2,000 and ₹6,000. For 40-60 minutes, the limits are ₹2,500 and ₹7,500. For 60-90 minutes, the price range will be ₹3,000 and ₹9,000. The rates will be ₹3,500 and ₹10,000 for 90-120 minutes. For 120-150 minutes, one has to pay ₹4,500 and ₹13,000. Finally, for 150-180 minutes, the limits are ₹ 5,500 and ₹15,700.

Domestic flights had resumed operations in India on May 25, after being suspended for a period of two months in the wake of the coronavirus. Also, the authorities had initially allowed airlines to operate with 33 per cent capacity. Later, the capacity was increased to 45 per cent.