Saturday, September 19, 2020

No nod from Heathrow; Mum new transit point for London-Kol flights

Kolkata: Air India on Friday announced the cancellation of the direct connection between Kolkata and London, citing non-availability of take-off and landing approvals for the flight at London Heathrow Airport (LHR). Instead, passengers bound for Kolkata will now travel both ways via Mumbai. On Thursday, the flight from London had come directly to Kolkata, but the return flight was cancelled and passengers were routed through Delhi.

“In view of LHR airport slot constraints and non-availability of approval for landing and take-off at LHR for flights AI 1149 and AI 1150 between Kolkata and London, a detour has been finalised for the next date. Kolkata-bound passengers, who had booked flight AI 1150 from London to Kolkata on Saturday, will now board AI 130 to Mumbai that will take off at 12.45pm. After the halt in Mumbai, the flight will travel to Kolkata at 5.50am on Sunday. Those booked on flight AI 1149 on Sunday will board the Mumbai-bound flight — AI 129 — at 7.30am. The flight reached London at 4.25pm,” an airline spokesperson said. So far, 81 passengers from Kolkata have booked tickets on Sunday’s flight.

There is no clarity on whether the subsequent ‘London-Kolkata’ flights will follow the same route or alternate between Delhi and Mumbai as transit points. However, it will sort out the confusion over mandatory pre-boarding RT-PCR test that was required for direct flights to Kolkata. On Wednesday, 12 passengers on the inaugural flight to Kolkata were not allowed to board the aircraft as they did not have the Covid-negative report. Since the flights will now be via another airport, sources said passengers who did not have the test report could travel to that point and get quarantined or have an RT-PCR test done at the airport before travelling to Kolkata. The ministry of civil aviation has allowed RT-PCR testing at the entry point as a pilot project.

19/09/20 Times of India

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