The Directorate General of Civil Aviation of India announced that scheduled international passenger flights would be banned until December 31, 2020, with the exception of flights selected on a case by case basis.
On November 26, 2020, an order of the Government of India was published by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, announcing the extension of the ban. “This restriction shall not apply to international all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved by DGCA,” the notice reads, adding that “however, International Scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes by the competent authority on case to case basis.”
In India, scheduled international passenger flights have been suspended since March 23, 2020, to reduce the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. However, passengers can rely on the air bubbles that India established with 22 countries that include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Bhutan, Canada, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Iraq, Japan, Kenya, Maldives, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Rwanda, Tanzania, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Ukraine and the US.
Additionally, Indian nationals can rely since May 2020 on special flights as part of the Vande Bharat Mission which helped repatriate thousands of Indian nationals via Air India and its low-cost subsidiary Air India Express.
On August 7, 2020, an Air India Express Boeing 737-800 carrying one of those special flights suffered a runway excursion on landing at Kozhikode-Calicut Airport, India, where it broke in two. Both pilots and nineteen passengers died in the accident.