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Omicron may halt India's plans to open up international flights

Omicron may halt Indias plans to open up international flights

New Delhi: Amidst fears of a resurgent wave of Covid-19 driven by the new and mutated variant 'Omicron', the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has announced that the current plans of restarting international flights as of December 15 are being held on hold.

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 DGCA circular issued on Wednesday said.

The Indian Express reported that a senior DGCA official had confirmed that the date of December 15 was being 'kept in abeyance' until further clarity emerged on the situation. India had last week announced a graded resumption of regular international flights from December 15, 2021, nearly 21 after being suspended on March 23, 2020.

In order to bring back citizens and maintain some level of international communication, 'air bubbles' had been opened in various countries across the world with a limited number of passenger craft and cargo aircraft flying. These were supposed to expire on December 14 even as domestic levels of air travel were slowly climbing back to normalcy, 18 months after civil aviation was opened back up to the public.

Delhi airport saw a jump to 72% of its pre-Covid traffic levels while Mumbai and Bengaluru saw 64%. Kolkota and Hyderabad are receiving 70% and 72% of pre-Covid passengers currently.

India had earlier this week directed rigorous screening of all passengers coming from at-risk countries that include places like South Africa, Hong Kong, and Botswana where Omicron has so far been detected.

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TAGS:OmicronIndiaInternational flightInternational travelCovid-19
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