New Delhi: At this time of coronavirus crisis when the country is facing acute shortage of oxygen and vaccines, the Director General of Civil Aviation on Friday extended the suspension of international flights till May 31. Issuing an order, the DGCA , however, said that international scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes by the competent authority on case to case basis.Also Read - Covid or no COVID, Work From Home Policy Stays on Table For Several Companies | Full List

“In partial modification of circular date 26-6-2020, the competent authority has further extended the validity of circular issued on the subject cited above regarding scheduled international commercial passenger services to or from India till 2359 hrs IST of 31st May 2021. The restriction shall not apply to international all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved by the DGCA,” the DGCA circular stated. Also Read - Jet Airways Prepares to Return to Skies: Airline Now Awaits Final Flying Permit After Completing Key Tests

Here’s the copy of the DGCA notification: Also Read - Jabalpur Runway Excursion: DGCA Suspends Licenses Of Pilots Operating Alliance Air Flight For A Year

Notably, the scheduled international passenger flight services have been suspended in India since March 23, 2020, due to rise in COVID cases in the country. However, special international flights have been operating under the Vande Bharat Mission of the Central government since May and under bilateral “air bubble” arrangements with selected countries since July.

So far, the country has established bilateral air bubble agreements with 27 countries, including the US, the UK, the UAE, Kenya, Bhutan and France. Part of an air bubble agreement between two countries, special international flights can be operated by their respective airlines.

However, in the wake of the second wave of the coronavirus, many countries have banned flights from India under Air Bubble pact till the COVID situation improves. The DGCA circular further added that the suspension does not affect the operation of international all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved by it.

Off late, Australia has suspended all direct passenger flights from India for the next three weeks due to the unprecedented spike in COVID-19 cases, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.