Monday, January 11, 2021

Keralites in UK demand London-Kochi flights

Kochi: Keralites in the United Kingdom have written to the central and state governments requesting to resume Air India's London-Kochi direct flights.

After lifting the ban on flight operations between the UK and India that started on 22 December, the central government decided to operate 15 flights per week from Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad with strict adherence to Covid-19 protocols since January 6.

But the London-Kochi services were not included in the list of approved flights. Air India started the direct flights in August as part of the Vande Bharat mission fulfilling a long-standing demand. There were three weekly flights. The service was successful and the flights flew at full capacity most days.

Keralites in the UK have started signing an online petition addressed to the central and state governments seeking the resumption of the flight.

“The direct flight between London and Kochi has greatly helped the passengers not only from Kerala but also from nearby states," said Manojkumar Pillai, national president of the Union of UK Malayalees Association (UUKMA).

"The suspension has created a major crisis for the passengers, including women, senior citizens, students, and businessmen. Travelling to airports in other states, from where there are direct flights to the UK is a tedious task for many due to the pandemic. Moreover, due to high demand, the air tickets available in Air India’s website gets sold out very quickly. So, the flight service needs to be reinstated immediately.

11/01/21 Times of India

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