New Delhi: The West Bengal government has decided to relax its airspace restrictions and allow only international charter flights carrying Indians with COVID-negative certificates to land at state airports. Also Read - No Cultural Programmes at Durga Puja This Year, Says Mamata Banerjee | Read Full SOP Here

Vande Bharat Mission flights are still restricted from flying to West Bengal and the restriction continues, a senior official said on Saturday. Also Read - International Flights: Saudi Arabia Permits Outbound Passenger Flights to India Under Vande Bharat Mission

Charter flights do not fall under any regular airline schedule. These are private flights, where the entire flights are booked by a sponsor — a person or an organisation. Also Read - NIA Arrests: 'West Bengal Has Become Home to Illegal Bomb-making,' Governor Takes Swipe at Police

Several people from West Bengal complained of being stuck abroad as the state government had prohibited all Vande Bharat Mission flights from entering the state, in the view of the rising number of the cases. Other VBM flights to Delhi, Mumbai were also not an option as the government restricted domestic flights from Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Pune and Nagpur.

All these other restrictions will continue.

Charter flights will be allowed from August 10. It is not yet known whether charter flights will be allowed to land on the lockdown days, as all other regular flights on lockdown days have been cancelled.

Those who will be travelling via these charter flights must have a negative test report conducted not before 96 hours of the flight departure.

The airlines should apply for a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the state government, specifying the sponsor, the number of passengers and their details, and an undertaking that all passengers travelling are COVID-negative, as per the standard operating procedures.

A clearance from the Indian missions in the originating countries or the Ministry of External Affairs is also needed.