Flights between India and the United Kingdom will resume from January 8, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri announced on Friday. The flights were suspended after the mutated strain of coronavirus wreaked havoc across the island nation last month. Later, the Indian government had extended the suspension of flights to and from the United Kingdom till January 7 amid alarm over the new highly contagious strain of the coronavirus.
Until January 23, only 15 flights per week have been approved for airlines of both countries. Flight operations will be allowed to and from Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad only. The limit of 15 flights per week for each country’s carriers means that Indian airlines will get 15 flights per week and British air carriers will operate 15 flights per week. This arrangement will remain in force from January 8 to 23. Currently, Air India and Vistara operate flights to the United Kingdom. British Airlines and Virgin Atlantic operate flights to India. DGCA is expected to announce the division of allocated 15 flights between the Indian airlines shortly. The ministry said that from November 25 to December 23 midnight, about 33,000 passengers arrived at various Indian airports from the UK. All these passengers are being tracked and subjected to RT-PCR tests by states and union territories. The government is doing a comprehensive contact tracing exercise for their co-travelers, family, among others.