Monday, April 26, 2021

India’s rich paid at least 100,000 pounds to book private jets in race to meet UK flight curbs deadline

Super rich Indians shelled out an estimated 100,000 pounds to schedule private jets to fly them to the United Kingdom ahead of the country’s “red listing” of Indian travellers could begin on April 23.

Data analysis by the Times London showed that at least eight private jets flew into Britain from India in 24 hours before the new travel ban could come into force at 4 am on April 23. The journey from India to the UK is on average nine-hours long.

In fact, one of the jets — a 13-seater Bombardier Global 6000 from Mumbai— landed at London’s Luton airport just 45 minutes ahead of the deadline, while three other flights arrived narrowly missing the deadline.

Luton is London’s busiest airport for private aircrafts.

UK added India to its travel "red list" on April 19 and the country's Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the ban would come into effect from 4 am on April 23.

The announcement came just hours after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson cancelled his visit to India.

The UK "red list" names 39 countries, including India, South America, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The restrictions denies entry to anyone who has visited the listed nations in the previous 10 days. The only exception is for British and Irish citizens, who are allowed to return, but will have to undergo mandatory 10-days quarantine from time of arrival.

Hancock had said reason for the ban was because 103 COVID-19 cases of the "Indian variant" – B.1.617 – have now been found in the UK.

25/04/21 Jocelyn Fernandes/Moneycontrol

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