30 India-UK flights to operate per week from January 8
Only 30 flights per week will operate between India and the United Kingdom to and from Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad, when services resume from January 8, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri announced on Friday. This arrangement will continue till January 23. Over 60 passenger flights per week were flying between India and the UK in December.
Flights to resume in a strictly regulated manner
To recall, the Aviation Ministry had suspended all passenger flights connecting the two countries from December 23 onwards as a new variant of coronavirus emerged in the UK. Puri had said that the flights would remain suspended till January 7 and they will resume in a "strictly regulated" manner thereafter. The earlier suspension period was to last till December 31.
'15 flights per week each for the two countries'
It has been decided that flights between India UK will resume from 8 Jan 2021.— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) January 1, 2021
Operations till 23 Jan will be restricted to 15 flights per week each for carriers of the two countries to from Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru Hyderabad only. @DGCAIndia will issue the details shortly
At least 33 countries have reported the new variant
The Health Ministry had announced on Tuesday that samples of all COVID-19 positive international passengers who arrived in India from December 9-22 will be subjected to genome sequencing to help understand how the new virus variant spreads and evolves. Meanwhile, Turkey is the latest country to confirm the presence of the new variant of the virus, taking the list to now around 33.
Airlines operating special flights under the Vande Bharat Mission
Scheduled international passenger flights continue to remain suspended in the country since March 23 due to the pandemic. However, airlines have been operating special international flights under the Vande Bharat Mission since May this year and under the bilateral air bubble pacts since July. India has formed air bubble pacts with 24 countries, including the UK.