Saturday, January 02, 2021

Air travel between India-UK to resume partially from January 8 with 30 weekly flights

New Delhi: Flights between India and the United Kingdom (UK) will resume from January 8, civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Friday.

However to ensure stringent following of all protocols, India and UK carriers will be each operating 15 flights per week -- that is, 30 flights weekly -- to and from four metros cities namely Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.

“It has been decided that flights between India and UK will resume from January 8, 2021. Operations till January 23, 2021, will be restricted to 15 flights per week each for carriers of the two countries to and from Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru & Hyderabad only. DGCA will issue the details shortly,” aviation minister H S Puri said in a tweet.

When flights were suspended on December 23 due to the new and more infectious Covid strain, 67 flights per week were being operated by British Airways (29), Air India (23), Virgin Atlantic (8) and Vistara (7) between London and 10 Indian cities including Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Goa, Amritsar and Kochi under the air bubble agreement.

Before December 23, almost 2,000-2,500 passenger used to fly to India daily from the UK on these weekly flights (66 from London Heathrow and one from Birmingham). With almost four daily flights, it will be a challenge for airlines to accommodate the backlog of passengers of the cancelled flights.

However, the restrictions are necessary to prevent the outbreak of the more infectious Covid strain in India. So far, about 30 people in the country have been confirmed to have that strain.

01/01/21 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

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