NEW DELHI: International flights will remain suspended till December 31 but services will be operated on select routes, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) announced here on Thursday. Cargo operations will not be affected, though, it said.
Air India announced on Wednesday that it will operate direct flights between Bengaluru and San Francisco from January 11. It said Air India will launch a twice weekly service. This would be the first non-stop flight between Bengaluru and the United States. Air India said it would tremendously help passengers, enabling faster and easier access to cities on the West Coast of the United States.
Air India would operate a 238-seater Boeing 777-200 LR aircraft to serve the largest unserved international origin/ destination (O/D) market for Bengaluru Airport. Bengaluru and San Francisco are ranked first and second among the world’s top 45 digitally advanced cities.
The flight suspensions that began from March 25 has paralysed air traffic mostly, except for special services, in the aftermath of the Covid Pandemic. The pandemic so far affected more than nine million Indians, while related deaths are of the order of 1,35, 400 so far. Restrictions imposed via iterations of lockdowns and shutdown of the country have been largely eased, but flight and train services remain largely hit. Educational institutions and hospitality/restaurant businesses have also been heavily hit.
“In partial modification of circular dated 26-06-2020, the competent authority has further extended the validity of circular issued on the subject cited above regarding Scheduled International commercial passenger services to/from India till 2359 hrs 1ST of 31St December, 2020,” stated the DGCA in a notification.
Earlier, the DGCA had extended the suspension of international flight operations till November 30 but allowed planes to fly on select routes. Special international flights are operating under the Vande Bharat Mission since May and under the bilateral ‘air bubble’ arrangements with selected countries since July.
The air bubble agreement covered nearly 20 countries including the US, the UK, France, the UAE, Kenya and Bhutan.
Scheduled domestic flights are operational since May 25 in India, after a near-total suspension of the services for two months. –IHN=NN
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