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Homechevron_rightBusinesschevron_rightIndia to resume...

India to resume international flights from Dec 15 amid Omicron concerns

India to resume international flights from Dec 15 amid Omicron concerns

New Delhi: The Civil Aviation Ministry on Friday announced that India will resume regular international flights from December 15 subject to conditions, while limited services will be there in 14 countries.

The ministry noted that the matter has been reviewed and the competent authority had decided to resume such flights (to and from India).

"Resumption of scheduled commercial international passenger services, to and from India, has been examined in consultation with Ministry of Home Affairs, External Affairs and Health, and it has been decided... maybe resumed from December 15," the ministry said.

The Aviation Ministry said 14 countries designated by the Health Ministry as 'at at risk', and with whom there is an existing 'air bubble' agreement, would be allowed to resume 75 per cent of pre-Covid operations (or a minimum of seven frequencies per week).

The countries which feature on the list of "at-risk" and will thereby not see 100% resumption of international flights are the UK, France, Germany, Netherlands, Finland, South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe and Singapore, sources said. These are also the countries that have confirmed cases of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

The Aviation Ministry said that the countries designated as 'at at risk' but without 'air bubble' agreements with India would be allowed to resume 50 per cent of bilateral capacity entitlements.

Scheduled international passenger flights between India and other countries can return to normal.

Scheduled international flights - except repatriation services and flights carrying essential goods - were suspended in March last year after the Covid lockdown.

Restrictions were eased gradually - as the caseload dropped and vaccination coverage increased, with 'air bubble' arrangements with other countries.

Under such a deal, international passenger flights can be operated by member countries' carriers into each other's territories, subject to certain conditions.

The decision to re-open scheduled international passenger traffic comes amid concern over the B.1.1.529 strain first detected in South Africa and since in Botswana, Israel and Hong Kong.

Germany and Italy have joined Britain in banning most travel from South Africa as governments scramble to stop the new variant. In a sign of growing alarm, the European Union separately proposed prohibiting travel from southern Africa.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has cautioned countries against immediately imposing travel restrictions, calling for a "risk-based and scientific approach".

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