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New Delhi: The suspension of scheduled international commercial passenger services to and from India has been extended until further notice, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation said on Monday.

Flights under the air bubble arrangement will not be affected, it added.

International all-cargo flights, too, will continue to operate, the DGCA said.

On January 19, 2022, the regulator had announced that the suspension of services would continue until February 28.

India, which currently operates flights under a ‘bubble’ agreement with countries, has been postponing the resumption of regular international flights, citing concerns related to new variants of the COVID-19 virus.

The latest announcement comes as a surprise as industry insiders and analysts were expecting India to open up on March 15. A third wave led by the highly-transmissible Omicron variant is receding and this has prompted several Indian states to do away with restrictions on international and domestic travel.

India also has a bubble agreement in place with the UAE – one of its largest aviation markets and trading partners. Due to uncertain airline operations and limited flight capacity, the travel corridor has pushed up airfares between the two destinations, industry sources said.