India on Thursday extended the bar on regular commercial international passenger flight services till 31 January , 2022 in view of the threat from the Omicron variant of concern (VOC) of the coronavirus.
The government initially notified that all scheduled passengers flights will resume from December 15 but later put the decision on hold due to rising concerns over the Omicron variant.
A circular issued by the aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Thursday read said "the competent authority has decided to extend the suspension of scheduled International commercial passenger services to/from India till 2359hrs of 31 st January, 2022".
The circular, however, said the international scheduled flights on selected routes may be allowed on case to case basis.
These restrictions do not apply to international all-cargo operations and flight specifically approved by DGCA.
Scheduled international passenger services have remained suspended in the country since 23 March, 2020, when the country first went into lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic
Special international flights, however, have been operating under the Vande Bharat Mission since May 2020 and under bilateral 'air bubble' arrangements with selected countries since July 2020.
India has air-bubble pacts with 31 countries, including the US, UK, UAE and France.
Passengers from 'at risk' countries (countries in Europe including The United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil, Botswana, China, Ghana, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Hong Kong, Israel) have to be mandatorily tested for Covid-19 after their arrivals and are allowed to go home after they test negative. They are required to stay in home quarantine for seven days and are also asked to keep a watch on their health from the eight day till the 14th day.