Regular international flights likely from March: Report

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After a gap of nearly two years, regular international flights from India are expected to resume on March 15 and will adhere to the standard operating procedures in place at Indian airports for foreign arrivals and departures, according to government sources on Monday.

Given the consistent decline in Covid cases, the Civil Aviation Ministry, in consultation with the Health Ministry, has almost reached a decision on resuming scheduled international flights, they said.

However, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation is yet to make an official announcement.

“Regular international flights are expected to resume on March 15th. The International Arrivals Guidelines, which went into effect on February 14, will be followed at airports for passengers on these flights”, according to an official source.

The ban on scheduled international passenger flights in India will remain in place until February 28. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, such flights have been suspended in India since March 23, 2020.

Under air bubble arrangements, special passenger flights have been operating between India and about 40 countries since July 2020.

With effect from February 14, the Health Ministry has issued revised guidelines for international arrivals, removing the mandatory seven-day home quarantine and the requirement for them to undergo an RT-PCR test on the eighth day. Apart from uploading a negative RT-PCR report obtained 72 hours before the trip, there is also the option of uploading certificates of completion of the full primary Covid vaccination schedule provided by countries on a reciprocal basis.

Furthermore, the distinction between ‘at-risk’ countries and other countries has been removed.

As a result, the need for giving samples at the port of entry and waiting for the results from ‘at-risk’ countries has been do away with.

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