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High demand | Govt allows 60 flights to operate between India and UK per week from August 16

Currently, MoCA allows 30 special flights to operate between India and the UK as part of its Vande Bharat Mission in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the moment two groups of airlines -- Indian carriers and British carriers -- are each allowed to operate 15 flights per week on the India-UK route; this will be doubled from August 16 onwards.

August 12, 2021 / 05:14 PM IST
Representative image (Source: ShutterStock)

Representative image (Source: ShutterStock)


The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) on August 12 said that it will allow 60 special flights to operate between India and the UK in the wake of rising demand for the service.

Currently, MoCA allows 30 special flights to operate between India and the UK as part of its Vande Bharat Mission in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the moment two groups of airlines -- Indian carriers and British carriers -- are each allowed to operate 15 flights per week on the India-UK route; this will be doubled from August 16 onwards.

The ministry's decision comes just five days after a senior Indian Administrative Service officer on August 7 pointed out that economy-class tickets on Delhi-London flights of British Airways, Air India and Vistara were priced between Rs 1,20,000 and Rs 3,95,000.

Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines-promoted Vistara Airlines had said prices of flights were always a function of supply and demand.

"There are only 15 flights a week allowed currently on India-UK route for Indian carriers and when there is relaxation and more capacity allowed, it will automatically bring down prices," Vistara had said on August 8.

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The ministry in a notification said that from August 16, as many as 60 flights will be allowed to operate between India and the UK till further orders or till the resumption of scheduled international commercial passenger services, whichever is earlier.

"Out of the 30 frequencies per week available to Indian carriers, 26 frequencies have been allotted to Air India and the remaining 4 frequencies have been allotted to Vistara Airlines," MoCA said.

Scheduled international passenger flights have been suspended in India since March 23 last year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

However, limited special international passenger flights have been operating since July 2020 under the air bubble arrangements formed with 28 countries, including the UK.

Last week, after nearly six months, the United Kingdom decided to move India from its “red” to “amber list",  opening up the possibility of Indians to travel to the UK without a mandatory 10-day hotel quarantine.

This created a sudden rush for flights, which helped airfares between the two countries shoot up in the past few days from about Rs 50,000-Rs 70,000 before August 8 to between Rs 95,000 and Rs 3,00,000 currently, data from travel agency Yatra.com showed.
 The astronomical rise in airfares between India and the UK can be mainly attributed to pent-up demand from students who have enrolled in colleges in the UK, businessmen looking to travel for work and customers looking to travel after the second lockdown in India, market experts and analysts said.
first published: Aug 12, 2021 05:12 pm

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