Wednesday, October 12, 2022

With India-China direct flights unlikely, students bank on alternative routes

With a recent media reports indicating that direct passenger flight services between India and China are unlikely to resume unless Beijing makes changes in its policy of sudden cancellation of scheduled flights whenever passengers test positive for Covid on arrival in Chinese airports, Indian students who have taken admissions in Chinese universities primarily for medicine are already making their plans to go to the East Asian country through alternative routes.

More than 23,000 Indian students have made China their preferred study destination but with the latter’s stringent restrictions on travelling to and from the country coupled with a quarantine policy, the journey remains impossible.

Reeba Khan, who is a medical student hailing from the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, has already booked her flight tickets to Hong Kong where she will have a three-day stay before boarding another plane to China.

“I am travelling to Hong Kong and have already booked a hotel room which costs me INR 20,000, which is cheaper compared to countries like Sri Lanka where the cost is going up to INR 1,70,000 for some students apart from the expenses in the country,” said Reeba, who is travelling to the Chinese special administrative region along with 11 other students hailing from states across India.

Before the Covid pandemic, students were able to avail of direct flights to China by spending Rs.16,000 but the uncertainty-infused decision to make use of third routes has proved to be costly for them.

12/10/22 Abhishek Nair/Free Press Journal

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