New Delhi, December 1: In a view of the new COVID variant, Omicron, which is spreading fear in the World, Aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has put its plans to resume international flights from December 15, on hold for now.
It should be noted that World Health Organisation declared 'Omircon' a variant of concern. DGCA said the government will announce a new date based on the Omicron situation.
In addition, the DGCA mentioned in the circular that all stakeholders are closely monitoring the global development of the new strain of COVID-19.
"In view of the evolving global scenario with the emergence of new variants of concern, the situation is being watched closely in consultation with all stakeholders, and an appropriate decision indicating the effective date of resumption of scheduled commercial international passenger services shall be notified in due course," the circular added.
The decision was taken after consultation with the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of External Affairs, and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
Scheduled international flights have remained suspended in India since March 23 last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, special international passenger flights have been operating since July last year under air bubble arrangements formed with 31 countries. Earlier last week, the Indian government had taken a call to resume scheduled international commercial flights from December 15, after a hiatus of as many as 20 months.
Notably, many countries around the world including Israel, Japan, Australia have announced to ban international regular flights from other nations keeping in view the high mutation rate of the virus and possible fears of another deadly Covid-19 wave. The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare had released new guidelines for international arrivals, with stringent testing, tracking, and quarantine measures for visitors from ‘at risk countries’.