India on Thursday extended the suspension of scheduled international commercial passenger services to/from the country till January 31, 2022. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) issued a circular in this regard. The DGCA, however, stated that international scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes on a case to case basis.
Earlier this month, the Centre decided to postpone the resumption of scheduled international flights from December 15 citing “evolving global scenario” in the wake of the Omicron threat. The government had at the time said it will announce a new date later. Last month, the Centre decided to normalise international flight operations, which remained suspended from March 2020.
The emergence of the new Covid variant, Omicron, first found in southern Africa, has sparked a global alarm, with several countries shutting borders and imposing travel restrictions. The WHO has designated Omicron as a ‘variant of concern’, saying that it would take quite some time to accurately gauge its level of severity. India has also reported Omicron cases, with several states, including Maharashtra, Delhi and Karnataka, reporting the new strain.