International commercial flights to remain suspended in India until March 31

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The first flight of the Xi'an-Istanbul direct air route arrives at Xi'an Xianyang International Airport in Xi'an, capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province, Dec. 30, 2019. Three round trips operated by Turkish Airlines are expected to be made between Xi'an and Istanbul, with inbound flights on every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and outbound ones on every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. (Xinhua/Shao Rui)

International commercial flights to and from India shall remain suspended until March 31, officials said Saturday.

According to a circular issued by the country’s civil aviation watchdog – Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Friday evening, the restriction would exempt international all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved by DGCA. Commercial flights were suspended when the country imposed a complete nationwide lockdown in March last year to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Domestic flights resumed operations in India on May 25 last year after nearly two months of suspension.

Indian authorities have been operating special international flights since May last year and under bilateral “air bubble” arrangements with selected countries since July last year.In December last year, the authorities placed a ban on flights to and from Britain following the discovery of a highly contagious strain of COVID-19 there. The ban was revoked later.

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