Last Friday it was announced that India will open its borders for international travel after 21 long months. However, the rising fears of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 across the globe may ruin the party as India might once again postpone the opening of its international borders. Earlier it was announced by the civil aviation ministry that international travel just as pre-covid will begin from December 15.
Future of Commercial International Flights
An order from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) stated that in the light of the situation that is developing due to cases of the new variant being reported, every situation is being closely monitored in consultation with the stakeholders. It further added that decision regarding the effective date of resumption of scheduled commercial international flights will be announced in the very near future.
After it was announced last week that the scheduled commercial international flights will begin from December 15, a meeting was held because of the rising concerns over the Omicron variant where Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked for a review of the decision to ease international travel from the government officials. This decision from Prime Minister to review the easing international travel restrictions in a meeting which was held to discuss the vaccination drive in the country and how prepared the country is to deal with the concerning Omicron Variant.
Following this meeting, another one was scheduled which was led by the home secretary. In this meeting held on Sunday, it was decided that decision on commencing of scheduled international flights will be taken after assessing the situation that develop across the world due to the Omicron variant.
A senior DGCA official has told that the previous plan of resuming the scheduled commercial international flights from December 15 is now suspended. The resumption was going to be initiated following proper guidelines and mandates and restrictions were imposed on air travel to and from the 16 countries that are supposedly at more risk of infections. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also mandated the monitoring of international arrivals as per the regulations especially from the countries at “risk.” These countries included Europe, including the UK, in addition to South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Israel.