Dec 2, New Delhi (IndiaToday) – The government on Wednesday decided not to resume scheduled international flights from December 15 in the wake of rising concerns over the new coronavirus variant, Omicron. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said that the effective date for resumption of international passenger services will be notified in due course.
The announcement comes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked officials to review the plans for easing international travel restrictions amid concerns over Omicron.
The DCGA on Wednesday said it is “watching the situation closely” after the new variant of coronavirus sparked concerns.
The DGCA said, “An appropriate decision indicating the effective date of resumption of scheduled commercial international passenger services shall be notified in due course.”
“In view of the evolving global scenario with the emergence of new variants of concern, the situation is being watched closely in consultation with all stakeholders,” it said in a statement.
Scheduled international flights have remained suspended in India since March 23 last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, special international passenger flights have been operating since July last year under air bubble arrangements formed with 31 countries.
The Centre on November 26 had said that commercial international passenger flights would resume on December 15. The decision was taken after consultation with the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of External Affairs, and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
However, on November 28, the Centre said it would take a decision on the effective date to resume flights after reviewing the “evolving global scenario” over concerns relating to the Omicron variant of coronavirus. This decision came after the World Health Organisation declared ‘Omircon’ a variant of concern.
The notification from DGCA on Wednesday came as part of the periodically renewed notifications carrying forward the ban imposed on scheduled commercial international passenger flights, since March 23, 2020. The last of those ban periods came to an end on Tuesday.