Friday, May 07, 2021

COVID-19 resurgence in India: Those who can afford are leaving on commercial flights, private jets

As the number of COVID cases go up, many are leaving the country. And it is not just the ultra rich and stars from Bollywood who are making a beeline to the airports in the country. JetSetGo, a private jet charter firm, has seen a 90 percent surge in bookings in recent weeks with around 80 percent comprising of people from the upper classes. Majority of them are headed to Maldives or Dubai, Kanika Tekriwal, co founder and CEO was quoted as saying in CNBC.

On Friday, India recorded 414,188 cases and 3,918 deaths, according to Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. India now has 3.65 million active cases. The five most affected states by total cases are Maharashtra (4,942,736), Kerala (1,743,932), Karnataka (1,741,046), Uttar Pradesh (1,425,919), and Tamil Nadu (1,297,500).

Flights on private jets don't come cheap. An eight-seater jet to Maldives cost between $18,000 to $20,000 or $31,000 for a six seater jet to Dubai. Tekriwal told CNBC that the price of a private jet flight is less than hospitalisation fees for COIVD which can cost about $2500 a night.

A recent report in Times of India said around eight private jets, costing around Rs 72 lakh each, arrived from India to the London airport, 24 hours before United Kingdom announced a travel ban on India.

Airfares soared and demand for private jets surged as many tried to book flights to the United Arab Emirates, said an AFP report on April 24. The UAE had imposed a ban for 10 days which it announced on April 22 and subsequently extended the ban on entry from travellers coming from India, the foreign ministry in Abu Dhabi said in a statement on its website Tuesday, to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Reuters reported.

07/05/21 Free Press Journal

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