New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Days after the Centre issued the guidelines for 'Unlock 3.0', the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Friday announced that international commercial passenger flights will continue to remain suspended in India till August 31.

"The Government has decided to extend the suspension on the Scheduled International Commercial Passenger Services to or from India upto 2359 hours IST of 31st August," the DGCA said in its order while adding that "specific Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) has been issued accordingly".

All international flights to and from India were suspended after the Centre imposed a nationwide lockdown to control the spread of the deadly coronavirus in the country from March 25. However, the Centre later resumed some of the international flights under its 'Vande Bharat' mission from May 25 to bring back the stranded Indians in various foreign countries owing to restrictions on air travel. 

The government then on July 29 issued the guidelines for the third phase of the phasewise upliftment of the coronavirus-induced lockdown or "Unlock 3.0" and announced that international air travel of passengers will be permitted in a limited manner under the Vande Bharat mission, adding that "further opening up will take place in a calibrated manner".

Meanwhile, India has establied "air travel bubbles" with several countries, including France and the United States (US) till international flights are resumed completely. Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri earlier this month had announced that India will focus on creating air travel bubbles with countries to transport international passengers.

"Now we have many demands for air bubbles, but we need to be careful. We should permit that many only that we can handle," Puri had said while adding that Air India will be operating flights from India to France and US under these bubbles.

An air bubble is a bilateral arrangement with a set of regulations and restrictions in which the carriers of the two countries can operate international flights.

Meanwhile, the Centre has already allowed domestic flights to resume their services. According to the Centre's guidelines airlines can operate a maximum 45 per cent of their pre-COVID domestic flights.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma