The Indian air traffic regulator, DGCA has indicated that air travel will be suspended on scheduled international commercial passenger flights until midnight, hours after the home ministry 's announcement of fresh guidelines on countrywide lock-up to contain coronavirus pandemic. The circular issued by the Directorate-General for Civil Aviation (DGCA) said: "It is repeated that foreign airlines should be adequately informed about the opening of their operations in India and/or India in time."
Domestic passenger services have resumed in the country since Monday, after a two-month hiatus, since the shutdown was announced on 25 March, when all scheduled commercial passenger flights were suspended in India. International air travel shall remain suspended, as stated in the MHA Order, adding that a decision as to when to resume travel would be taken after an assessment of the situation has been made.
But the timing decision may not be entirely a call from India, given that this depends mostly on India's assessment of the destination country is safe and consequential permissions to be issued to Indian carriers to fly to their airports. And that's where India could be at the far end of the pecking order, as the Covid-19 cases in India are still on the upswing, even as they have peaked or are coming down in other geographies. Moreover, since the post-COVID resumption pattern could depend entirely on the discretion of countries and their aviation regulators.
Several countries within Europe have announced the opening of borders for intra-European travel on 15 June, which will allow air travel, including for leisure purposes. Countries such as Sweden, the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Slovenia have opened borders to EU tourists, while countries such as Germany, Hungary, Romania, and Finland have partially opened borders. As a result, airlines such as Lufthansa announced 3,600 weekly flights in June. Also, Lufthansa, as well as its group of airlines SWISS and Eurowings, are likely to operate 70 overseas flights.
However, it may be pre-emptive on the part of the airlines, given that the European Union has yet to decide whether to reopen its external borders on 15 June. In Asia, Qatar Airways stated that it plans to expand its network back to more than 50 destinations by mid-June, including the resumption of services to Manila, Amman, and Nairobi. The Doha airline also said that it hopes to connect 80 destinations by the end of this month, including 23 in Europe, four in the Americas, 20 in the Middle East/Africa, and 33 in Asia-Pacific.
For Indian travelers to fly abroad, much depends on the country's pandemic trajectory and how regulators, DGCA, and international regulators, will certify the opening of their flights to or from India in the coming months.
Tags : Air travel, India, International air travel