Since Covid-19 has started India has been the number one country to be the most affected by Covid-19 and one of those countries which saw the highest number of deaths, when we compare statistical data to other countries. This is the exact reason why there has been a number of restrictions placed upon Indians due to the fact that the pandemic hasn’t ended yet. The pandemic took a heavy toll on a number of things including the value of human life and the state that we live in. Restrictions were put up because of this pandemic, and the most important thing that was focused on was transport. Speaking of transport, the Indian government has taken a lot of effort to counter this pandemic, and it was very essential to block all modes of transport and shut down the country into a total lockdown.
This took a heavy toll on a number of things and we realized how important it was to be able to connect to different people and stay at our homes to save lives. Since there was this pandemic, the lockdown which was started by the Indian government was retracted and extended as per data a number of times. The retraction and extension for the lockdown have always been the number one priority by the government, because of the fact that this was the only thing that stopped everything. The retraction and the reopening of the country were done in between the waves of Covid-19, and this is the exact reason why we didn’t fully retract and solve this issue completely. However, as we have mentioned before, there were a lot of reasons for the government to retract and extend the lockdown for the benefit of its people.
Amid the pandemic, the change started, the lockdown ended, and we witnessed the start of the first wave. We have already seen about two waves of covid-19 and both of them were equally disastrous and horrific due to the number of people that died in the same. Maybe, this is the only reason why the Indian government has banned all international flights again. Accordingly, this news came from certain discussions that were held in parliament concerning citizens that were living abroad for those who are stuck in India and they want to leave as soon as possible to meet their families abroad. But, looking at the rising graph of the transmission of covid-19, the government has taken a few steps backwards for the safety of its citizens.
The announcement came from the travel discussions that were held in the parliament that the Indian government would again ban all the international flights regardless of whether they are scheduled to leave or not, there are some exceptions in this case, and we will discuss this later. Regarding this discussion with opposition leaders, the Indian government came to a conclusion regarding flights that they would ban all international flights till September 30th, 2021. This is considered to be the final decision, and it is being rumoured that the decision was taken in the interest of public safety. The directorate general of civil aviation has clearly stated that the ban would extend to September end and the decisions won’t be taken back. The DGCA announced the decision regarding the ban on Sunday, and he also stated that all covid induced flights would also be banned until further notice.
If you consider the possibility of a third wave, then you need to be very careful with the lockdown that was enforced in this country. These were the exact words of many opposition leaders and maybe this is exactly why the DGCA has announced its decision for the ban. The DGCA has also announced that some of the international flights won’t be cancelled if they have been already scheduled. If they have been scheduled by a certain route that was allowed by a competent authority, then they won’t be cancelled and they are allowed regardless of the ban. This would ensure relief to many of you, who have scheduled their flights already. Now the announcement also said that it is a case to case thing, so it is actually better to take note of this and plan ahead.
Now if we talk about the history of the international flight ban that occurred in our country that we need to trace our steps back to the start when the second waves start. This was when we had our own oxygen crisis and everything. Regarding the preventive measures that the government took to counter the pandemic, this was the most crucial decision that the government took, to make sure that the spread is contained. The ban was announced on March 23rd 2021, banning all international flights. This was reciprocated by many foreign countries as they banned flights to India. But after the wave died, the ban was supposed to be lifted on August 31, 2021. Since we are very near to the date of where the ban is supposed to be lifted, and looking at the current situation of our country, it would be fair to say that the ban which is imposed again extending up to the end of September is actually a good decision.
Although the ban was supposed to block all international flights there was a movement that was started in May to rescue all the citizens of India who are trapped abroad. The Vande Bharat Mission which was started in May 2020 was actually a success considering the number of people that were brought back to their home country. Also, there was a bilateral air bubble which was maintained by India with many countries so that regular travellers won’t have to face travel bans. This bilateral air bubble which was maintained by India with many foreign countries allowed the passengers to travel without any restrictions. This move was much appreciated by the general public and it was started just after the Vande Bharat mission. There is also a possibility that these lanes might still operate.
The DCGA himself announced that certain bilateral air bubble pacts were formed with certain countries. And these bilateral air bubbles will continue to work for cargo flights and flights. Thus, it might be possible for you to travel to a certain country if it has a bilateral air bubble pact formed with our country. And there might be a possibility that cargo might work too. The DGCA in its circular also states that, In a partial modification made on a circular released on June 26, 2021, the competent authority has further extended the validity of the circular issued on the subject just mentioned regarding Scheduled International commercial passenger service to/from India till 2359 hrs IST of 30th September 2021. However, there might be a huge catch here. There is no mention of international all-cargo operations and international flights which are actually permitted by the DCGA.
This would only mean one thing, that all cargo operations and international flights which are committed by the DCGA would be allowed to travel regardless of the ban. So if there are any cargo operations or flights committed by the DCGA then they are allowed to travel. But, if you are thinking about actually cancelling all your flights, you have to rethink your decision because there might be a possibility that your flight won’t be banned. This is because of the fact that India formed air bubble pacts with as many as 25 different countries. So if you are having an international flight before September 31, then you can first check all the countries with which are present in the air bubble pact. The US, UK, UAE, Kenya, Bhutan and France are among those countries which made a pact with India regarding the air bubble, therefore it is one of your destinations then you can wait for further notice.
So if you are planning on travelling to any of these countries then the first thing that you need to understand is the fact that you are putting yourself at risk if you are not vaccinated. And, if you are vaccinated with the double doors then you need to realise that you still have to follow all rules and regulations. Therefore if you are planning on visiting anywhere outside the country then you need to check the aviation department notices till September 31st. You can even contact your local flight agency to enquire about the flights that would be happening.