Regular commercial international flights will not resume till January 31, the government announced on Thursday, amid a global alarm over the new Omicron variant of coronavirus. The ones under the "air bubble" agreements, however, will carry on as before.
International flights were earlier scheduled to resume from December 15. However, with the outbreak of the new 'Omicron' variant in several nations, the country has now put brakes on its plans for international flights resumption.
Extending the suspension on international flights till January 31, aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said in a circular that this restriction shall not apply to international all-cargo operations and flight specifically approved by it.
It further said that international flights maybe allowed on selected routes on a case-to-case basis.
The Omicron variant has triggered a fresh wave of concerns over international travel across the world, leading to the imposition of new travel measures by several nations.
The Delhi airport authorities has set up 20 dedicated counters for passengers arriving from "at risk" countries and having pre-booked their mandatory COVID-19 test. This came after several flyers complained of crowding at the terminal following the implementation of new travel guidelines.
According to the health ministry guidelines issued last week amid the Omicron alarm, all passengers arriving from "at-risk" nations must compulsorily undergo PCR test and five per cent of passengers arriving from other countries would also have to take the test on a random basis.
Commercial international flights were suspended in March 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak and the government had on November 26 announced its resumption from December 15 after a hiatus of over 20 months.