International flights to remain suspended till August 31
New Delhi: The Central government on Friday extended the suspension on scheduled commercial international flight operations to and from India till August 31.
"The government has decided to extend the suspension on the Scheduled International Commercial Passenger Services to or from India up to 23:59 hours IST of 31st August. Specific Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) has been issued accordingly," an official statement said.
The restriction, however, will not be applicable on all-cargo flights and other flights specially approved by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
Passenger air services were suspended on March 25 due to the nationwide lockdown to check the spread of Covid-19. Domestic flight services, however, resumed from May 25.
"It may be noted that during the suspension period due to the Covid-19 situation in India, more than 2,500 repatriation flights by foreign carriers to uplift stranded passengers to or from India have been approved," the statement said.
"Under the 'Vande Bharat Mission', Air India and Air India Express have uplifted 2,67,436 stranded passengers while other charters have uplifted 4,86,811 stranded passengers during the period from May 6 to July 30, 2020," it added.
According to the statement, to allow gradual movement of passenger traffic during the Covid-19 situation, 'Transport Bubble' agreements have been signed with the US, France, and Germany.
"Recently, a Transport Bubble agreement was also signed with Kuwait to uplift stranded passenger both to and from India. More similar arrangements are likely to fructify and ease passenger movements from different countries," the statement said.
On its part, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) in Mumbai facilitated the movement of 21 flights between July 22 and July 31 under the bilateral Air Bubble agreements with the US, Germany and France.
"CSMIA catered to a total of 3,059 passengers which include 1,185 from US, 660 from France and 1,214 from Germany," the airport said in a statement.
"Under this arrangement, the airport saw airlines such as Air India, Air France and Lufthansa operating on these routes. The first flight departed from Mumbai to Paris by Air France on July 22, while the first flight arrived from Frankfurt by Air India on the July 23," it added.