Tourists have been stranded in different parts of the world owing to the pandemic and subsequent travel bans. One such set are British travellers stuck in India. Catering to this group is the British Airways, who is now flying thousands of British travellers back home.
By Bayar Jain
After already having flown thousands of travellers, British Airways intends of rescuing UK nationals who have been stranded in India as a result of the Covid-19 crisis back to the UK this week. Reportedly, 65 rescue flights, which have either operated or are planned to operate in the coming days have helped people from destinations across the globe.This is through agreements with travel operators including cruise companies and national authorities, as well as part of a continued effort between British Airways and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to bring people home from cities all over the world.
For the Indian leg of the mission, the airlines have planned special flight departures over a period of two weeks. These flights are taking off from Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, and Chennai. The airlines have also extended its operations to serve additional cities which include Goa, Amritsar, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram.
Speaking about the task, the Foreign Office’s Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon was quoted saying, “This is a huge and logistically-complex operation, and we are working tirelessly with the Indian Government and state authorities to help more British travellers get home.” The repatriation effort is a collaboration between the UK and Indian Government authorities, British Airways and the airport teams in both, Britain and India.
Alex Cruz, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO, said in a statement, “It is an honour to support the government’s repatriation efforts and keep a small fleet of aircraft flying to bring stranded Britons back to the UK. When families step foot on board our aircraft and tell us how emotional it feels to be coming home, it reminds us why the job we are doing is still so important.” Cruz added, “We are hugely proud of our colleagues who continue to work with such dedication and commitment through this crisis to fly people and essential supplies across the world.”
People aside, the airline is also carrying hundreds of tonnes of essential supplies including medicines and personal protective equipment (PPE) to the UK.
British nationals who may have not got confirmed travel plans back to the UK as yet can visit the India Travel Advice page and use the city-specific webpages to register themselves.