Chennai, April 10 (IANS) The UK will be using charter flights from various Indian cities to ferry its nationals stranded across the country.
Over 3,000 British travellers are currently stranded in India and the charter flight from Chennai via Bengaluru is scheduled on April 20, said a statement from British Deputy High Commission here.
An additional 12 charter flights will be operated and bookings have opened on Friday.
This follows the seven charter flights announced on April 5 from Goa, Mumbai and New Delhi (April 8-12) and will take the total number of people brought back on these 19 flights to around 5,000.
The first charter flight from India arrived at London Stansted on Thursday morning with 317 British nationals on board from Goa.
“We are doing all we can to get thousands of British travellers in India home. This is a huge and complex operation which also involves working with the Indian government to enable people to move within India to get on these flights,” UK Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad, was quoted as saying in the statement.
“Over 300 people arrived from Goa on Thursday morning, 1,400 more will arrive over the Easter weekend and these 12 flights next week will bring back thousands more,” he said.
Jan Thompson, Acting High Commissioner to India, said: “We can confirm 12 more charter flights to bring British travellers back home, on top of the flights already launched. We are extremely grateful for the support we are receiving from the government of India. Getting people home as quickly as possible remains our absolute priority,” Jan Thompson, Acting High Commissioner to India was quoted a saying in the statement.
The following flights to London are scheduled for the next two weeks and British travellers should visit the India Travel Advice page to reserve seats as well as for any further information:
* Amritsar-UK: April 13, 17, 19
* Ahmedabad-UK: April 13, 15
* Goa-UK: April 14, 16
* Goa (via Mumbai)-UK: April 18
* Thiruvananthapuram (via Kochi)-UK: April 15
* Hyderabad (via Ahmedabad)-UK: April 17
* Kolkata (via Delhi)-UK: April 19
* Chennai (via Bengaluru)-UK: April 20
So far, flights have brought back British travellers from the Philippines, Ecuador, Bolivia, Nepal, Ghana, Tunisia, Algeria and Peru.
The charter flights are for UK travellers who normally reside in the UK and their direct dependants. A number of seats will be reserved for those deemed vulnerable.
To book flights and register their details, British nationals should use the city-specific webpages listed on the India Travel Advice page, the statement said.