The Indian government yesterday announced that the country’s ban on foreign passenger flights will be prolonged indefinitely, with no indication as to when it may be removed. It was announced on January 19 by NDTV that the suspension of passenger air travel in India had been prolonged until February 28, but that it will now be extended till further notice until further notice.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the Indian aviation industry’s regulatory agency, stated in a notice issued on Wednesday that “the competent authority has decided to extend the suspension of scheduled international commercial passenger services to and from India until further orders.”
“It came as a bit of a surprise. “We have been following up with the government on a regular basis to ensure that the flights are made available,” Ashish Gupta, CEO of the Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism and Hospitality, told Fortune. “I anticipate that the decision will be revisited in the near future.””It came as a bit of a surprise.
“We have been following up with the government on a regular basis to ensure that the flights are made available,” Ashish Gupta, CEO of the Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism and Hospitality, told Fortune. “I anticipate that the decision will be revisited in the near future.”
In response to the COVID-19 epidemic, which began in March 2020, India has kept its borders closed to the vast majority of international visitors. It’s understandable that tourist companies in the area are unhappy by Wednesday’s statement; but, this isn’t the first time the resumption of international air travel has been postponed in the past.
The DCGA had declared on November 26th of last year that regular international passenger flights will resume on December 15th, and this was effective immediately. Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked that the Civil Aviation Ministry and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation postpone the resume the next day, citing concerns about the then-unknown consequences of the recently emerging Omicron version.
As a result, on December 1, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) reversed its previous decision without providing any indication as to how long the suspension of international flights would last. The Indian tourist industry’s hopes of resuming operations in time for the busy Christmas and New Year season were dashed as a result of this decision.
Gupta believes that the government’s statement on Wednesday might result in a loss of income for India’s travel companies during the period from April to June, when students normally take their summer vacations.
While international air travel to and from India has been prohibited in general for nearly two years, specially sanctioned passenger flights have been operating for the majority of that time under so-called “air bubble” agreements with specific countries, with 36 countries having signed such agreements as of this writing.
Those who use these bubbles to enter India do so only under exceptional circumstances, and they must be fully vaccinated as well as provide a negative COVID-19 test result obtained within 72 hours after their arrival in India.
Subhash Goyal, President of the Confederation of Tourism Professionals, told Fortune magazine that the cost of ticket on the restricted number of accessible air-bubble flights has increased by thrice compared to the cost of comparable flights before to the outbreak of the flu epidemic.