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Omicron impact: India extends int'l flight suspension till Jan 31
The suspension of commercial international passenger flights imposed on March 23, 2020 when the covid pandemic started was extended several times as the situation continued to be alarming. Though the scourge is on the way out, a new variant called Omicron is now spreading across countries very fast forcing several of them to clamp curbs on international travel to check its spread.

NEW DELHI, Dec 10: India has extended the suspension of commercial international passenger flights, which has been in force since March 2020 when the covid pandemic started, till January 31, 2022 as a new virus variant is spreading across countries.

On November 26, just before the new covid variant called Omicron began spreading from South Africa, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had announced that the suspension of international flights would be lifted and flights would resume on December 15, only to be withdrawn soon after.

When many countries started imposing travel curbs in view of the Omicron covid, the Central Government said on December 1 it had decided not to resume scheduled international flights from December 15 as announced earlier and it would review the situation. “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 and an appropriate decision indicating the effective date of resumption of scheduled commercial international passenger services shall be notified in due course,” the DGCA said in an order.

The regulator issued a circular on December 9, saying, "The competent authority has decided to extend the suspension of scheduled international commercial passenger services to and from India till 2359 hours of January 31, 2022."

The flights were suspended since March 23, 2020 due to covid. But special international flights have been operating under the Vande Bharat Mission since May 2020 and under bilateral "air bubble" arrangements with selected countries since July 2020. India has air bubble agreements with 32 countries.

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