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DGCA extends ban on regular commercial international passenger flights

Flights under air bubble arrangements and international cargo flights will continue.

February 28, 2022 / 11:18 AM IST

DGCA has extended the ban on regular international flights, until further orders. However, flights that are operational under air bubble arrangements as well as international cargo flights will continue to operate as scheduled.

While officials from the DGCA and the civil aviation ministry had proposed to lift the ban, a nod from ministry of health and family welfare was crucial, which has been closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation.

Ban and air-bubble arrangements

The ban on scheduled international passenger flights has been in place in India since March 23, 2020. However, special passenger flights have been operating between India and approximately 40 countries since July 2020 under air-bubble arrangements.

Domestic air passenger traffic tops 3 lakh-mark, expected to cross pre-COVID levels soon

COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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India currently has air transport bubbles with 40 countries, including Canada, France, Germany, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the US.

The DGCA, in January, had extended the suspension on international flights from and to India, in view of the rising Coronavirus cases across the world.
It has been a belief that the Centre could resume international flights from end of March, or at the beginning of the summer schedule for airlines.

Aviation watchdog asks airlines to install child restraint system in aircraft

Indian carriers at one point of time used to operate close to 3,000 flights, during the pre-COVID-19 period. The aviation sector has been seeking reduction in excise duty on aviation turbine fuel (ATF), even as it battles the impact of COVID-19 on the business.

Moneycontrol News
first published: Feb 28, 2022 10:58 am