LONDON: The UK on Thursday announced seven further charter flights to bring over 2,000 British travellers stranded in India due to the coronavirus pandemic lockdown back home to the UK.
All the new flights are between Amritsar and London to cater to the thousands still stranded in Punjab, with a daily flight planned every day between May 5 and 11.
Once these flights are completed, over 15,000 British travellers will have been brought back from India on 59 government-chartered flights, the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said.
“These additional flights will help over 2,000 more people get back to their loved ones here in the UK. I would like to thank the government of India for their help in making it happen,” said Lord Tariq Ahmad, FCO Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth.
The UK government has previously announced 52 charter flights bringing back over 13,000 people from India. The latest tranche brings that total to 59 flights, catering for 15,000 people and over 10,000 of those have already travelled, with the remaining amount due in coming weeks.
“Our charter programme has already helped more than 10,000 British travellers return home from India by ensuring flights to the UK have run every day since April 8, with thousands more due to depart in the coming days,” he said.
As with the last round of charter flights, seats on the new planes will be allocated to those who have already registered via the government’s online booking portal – CTM.
Jan Thompson, Acting High Commissioner to India, said: “This fifth round of flights brings the total number of planes we have organised from India to 59.
“There have been daily departures from across the country for weeks, which have helped thousands of people get back to their friends and families in the UK. My team and I will continue to do all we can to support British people who remain in India.”
She said that staff at the British High Commission in India will continue to provide assistance to those waiting to return to the UK.
Since the coronavirus outbreak began, the UK has worked consistently with governments, air carriers and travel companies to minimise disruption and help British travellers return home safely – supported with GBP 75 million for special charter flights to priority countries like India, focused on helping the most vulnerable people.
Those who are eligible to fly will be sent information on how to get to airports and flight itineraries directly when their seat is confirmed
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