Air India suspends flights to Europe, UK from March 18; flyDubai suspends India flights till month-end

NEW DELHI: National carrier Air India will suspended all its flights to Europe and UK from Wednesday. Dubai-based low cost carrier flyDubai has suspended all flights to India from Tuesday night till March 31. The budget carrier operates 30 weekly flights from 8 Indian cities. Other airlines with direct flights between India and Europe/UK/Gulf are likely to announce similar flight curtailments as India, like rest of the world, is taking all steps possible to contain the spread of coronavirus.
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India has barred entry of flyers from Afghanistan, Philippines and Malaysia with immediate effect Tuesday as the deadly coronavirus continued to spread. The decision is till March 31, when it will be reviewed again.
The Centre had on Monday barred anyone — including Indian citizens and transit passengers — from flying to the country from Europe, UK and Turkey from March 18 to 31. Anyone coming to India from or transiting from via UAE — including the mega hubs of Dubai and Abu Dhabi; Sharjah — Qatar, Oman and Kuwait in this time period will be quarantined for at least 14 days. The government says both these decisions, that come into effect from 5.30 pm on Wednesday, “are temporary and shall be in force till March 31, 2020, and will be reviewed subsequently.”
India had last week suspended most visas from March 13 to April 15. Visa-free travel facility for overseas citizens of India (OCI) card holders has also been suspended till April 15.
The DGCA on Tuesday issued a circular to airlines, saying: “Travel of passengers from Afghanistan, Philippines, Malaysia to India is prohibited with immediate effect. No flight shall take off from these countries to India after 1500 hours Indian Standard Time (IST). The airline shall enforce this at the port of initial departure. This instruction is a temporary measure and shall be in force till 31st March 2020 and will be reviewed subsequently. All scheduled Indian and foreign airlines engaged in international air transportation to/from India, therefore, are directed to follow the above advisory and not to carry any passenger in violation thereof.”

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