India extends ban on international flights until April 14

A photo taken on March 16, 2020 shows passengers with face masks outside the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi.
A photo taken on March 16, 2020 shows passengers with face masks outside the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi.PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI - Prolonging its international border control measures, India on Thursday (March 26) extended its ban on all scheduled international commercial passenger flights until midnight local time on April 14.

The country had already banned such services for a week from March 22.

Domestic passenger flights have also been banned till March 31. Passenger train and bus services also remain suspended.

India is currently on the second day of its 21-day nationwide lockdown, a drastic attempt to curtail the spread of coronavirus. According to government figures, the country had recorded 647 confirmed cases and 16 deaths as of Thursday night.

The new order from the Indian Directorate-General of Civil Aviation, however, excludes international cargo operations and any flights that may have prior approval.

Some of these special flights so far include a chartered aircraft that flew out stranded German nationals on Wednesday night. Another flight is expected to depart with a second batch of Germans on Thursday.

Israel has also arranged two special flights to fly out its nationals. An Air India aircraft carrying some of them took off from Delhi earlier on Thursday.