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British Airways resumes Chennai-London flights from today; plus, updated Vande Bharat Mission flight schedule for Sept

British Airways flights will ply the London-Chennai route on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and Chennai-London on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

August 31, 2021 / 12:18 PM IST
Representational image. London, UK.

Representational image. London, UK.

The government of India has extended the suspension of scheduled international flights till September 30, 2021. However, Vande Bharat Mission (VBM) and other flights under Air Bubbles will continue and people eligible as per government norms can fly to and from India. India currently has Air Bubble arrangement with 28 countries.

“This restriction shall not apply to international all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). International scheduled flights maybe allowed on selected routes by competent authority on case by case basis,” the DGCA order states.

It may be recalled that all scheduled international flights were suspended on March 23, 2020.

Air India has issued an updated schedule of Vande Bharat Mission (VBM) flights to/from various countries. As of August 28, 2021, under VBM, Air India Group has operated 32,143 flights and carried 4,094,771 passengers. Inbound Flights numbered 16,068 with 2,403,955  passengers while there were 16,075 Outbound flights carrying 1,690,816 passengers.

VBM flights out of India (September 16-30, 2021)


September 16: Chennai-Singapore, Chennai-Colombo

September 18: Delhi-Colombo

September 19: Mumbai-Singapore

September 20: Delhi-TelAviv

September 21: Chennai-Colombo

September 22: Amritsar-Rome

September 23: Chennai-Colombo, Chennai-Singapore

September 25: Delhi-Colombo

September 26: Bengaluru-Singapore

September 27: Delhi-TelAviv

September 28: Chennai-Colombo

September 29: Amritsar-Rome

September 30: Chennai-Colombo, Chennai-Singapore

VBM flight arrivals into India (September 16-30, 2021)

September 16: Rome-Amritsar, Singapore-Chennai

September 17: Colombo-Chennai

September 18: Colombo-Delhi

September 19: Singapore-Mumbai

September 21: TelAviv-Delhi

September 22: Colombo-Chennai

September 23: Rome-Amritsar

September 24: Colombo-Chennai

September 25: Colombo-Delhi

September 26: Singapore-Bengaluru

September 28: TelAviv-Delhi

September 29: Colombo-Chennai

September 30: Rome-Amritsar

Air India Flights to/from Saudi Arabia:
Departure/Arrival CityStart DateEnd DateFrequency



August 2, 2021October 25, 2021Monday



August 7, 2021October 30, 2021Saturday



August 3, 2021October 26, 2021Tuesday




August 4, 2021October 27, 2021Wednesday




September 5, 2021September 26, 2021Sunday





September 2, 2021October 28/29, 2021


(Thiruvanthapuram-Mumbai (Friday)





September 3, 2021October 29/30, 2021


Lucknow-Delhi (Saturday)
Exemption from institutional quarantine for International Passengers arriving into India: According to a government circular, a passenger arriving on an international flight who has to take a connecting domestic flight shall be permitted to do so if the following procedure is complied with:
  1. Upon arrival, the passenger completes a Self Declaration form which is submitted to the Airport Health Organisation (APHO) and completes mandatory temperature screening.
  2. The passenger has a valid negative RT-PCR test report which has been conducted within 96 hours prior to departure. This report shall be validated by the State government official at the arrival triage and be stamped as accepted.
  3. Passenger will then be permitted to exit the State government triage area without having his/her hand stamped and permitted to proceed to their domestic connecting flight through the appropriate channel.

Note that these guidelines are being pursued on a pilot basis and will be reviewed in due course.

British Airways to resume Chennai-Heathrow flights: According to a tweet by Chennai Airport, starting August 31, 2021, British Airways will resume operations on London Heathrow Airport-Chennai route. The airline schedule is:

Flight out of London: Sunday, Wednesday & Friday

Flight out of Chennai: Monday, Thursday & Saturday

British Airways extends flexible booking: British Airways has extended its flexible booking policies. If you’re due to travel before August 31, 2022, you can change your booking without any change fees, or request a voucher which can be used for travel at any time up until September 30, 2023.

ECDC list of risky/safe countries: The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has issued a list of risky and safe countries to travel within the European Union.

Green: Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania (except for Bucharest)

Orange: Austria, Croatia, Estonia, Finland (except for the region of Uusimaa, which is all red), half of Belgium, half of Germany, half of Italy, Malta, most of the Netherlands, Norway (except for the region of Vestland, which is all red), Slovenia, some parts of Denmark.

Dark Red: France’s Midi-Pyrénées, Languedoc-Roussillon, and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, several Greek islands, Portugal’s Madeira, Cyprus, Italy’s Sardinia, Ireland’s Connaught and Ulster.

Face masks mandatory in the US until January 18, 2022: Fully vaccinated people in the US using public transport such as airplanes, trains, buses, airports, and train stations must wear a face mask until January 18, 2022. The earlier directive by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that vaccinated travellers are exempted from the mask requirement has been rescinded.

Australia to introduce Agricultural Worker Visa: Australia’s government has announced that Agricultural Worker Visa will be introduced from September 30, 2021. This is pursuant to the need for more working staff in meat processing, fisheries, forestry, and other similar industries.

The new visa will help workers from 10 Southeast Asian Nations to work in Australia, a pathway to permanent residence. However, it is not clear which countries have been chosen for the program. The visa headcount has also not been announced yet.
Preeti Verma Lal is a Goa-based freelance writer/photographer.
first published: Aug 31, 2021 12:01 pm
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