When a new variant strain of the Coronavirus was detected in South-East England in late-December, India immediately stopped all flights from the UK. With new testing measures in place, flights have again resumed, albeit at a slower rate than before.
The Civil Aviation Ministry’s Announcement
Speaking to the media, the Indian Civil Aviation Minister – Hardeep Singh Puri – announced:
India will receive 30 flights per week from the U.K. from Jan 8 till Jan 23.
15 flights by both the nations and to cities namely, New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru & Hyderabad will be allowed
Major Cities Still Face Restrictions
While it used to be around 60 flights between India and the UK till December last year, the current situation allows only 30 per flights. This arrangement is to begin on Jan 8 and will prevail till Jan 23, 2021.
In the present situation 15 flights from each country will be allowed to take-place. This curtailment was necessitated due to the new variant of the Coronavirus spread in the UK, thought to be 70% more transmittable – Though it is thought to not cause any more severe illness.
However, the routes for these 30 flights are limited only to New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru & Hyderabad. A look at these destinations indicate that the Government is keen to restrict the spread. By limiting to these destinations, focus is given to the entire country in terms of availability of flight services to and from UK. While at the same time, this will enable the Government to focus and control the spread.
The Government of India does not want to risk infection of the population with this new strain, particularly when the roll-out of the Oxford vaccine is expected in the next few days.
The air-bubble agreements signed with countries includes the UK. While normalcy is gradually happening, the situation with the UK has turned critical due to the new spread; Though it is hoped with these more severe measures, coupled with the vaccine rollout, things can slowly return back to ‘normal.’
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