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Airlines do not add extra flights from India on the eve of the UK ban

Heathrow refuses more flights arriving before Covid’s red list bar as of Friday for most travelers from India

Airlines tried to take extra flights to deal with passengers who hoped to leave India and avoid Covid’s ban on entering the UK, but were hit by airport disputes and cancellations.

India, which has reported more than 314,000 new coronavirus infections – a daily record of Covid-19 infection worldwide – is facing a critical shortage of hospital beds and oxygen, and will be added to the UK’s red list from the 4 am on Friday, April 23.

This red list restriction prohibits anyone except British or Irish citizens or persons with UK residence rights from entering. These arrivals must be quarantined at a hotel for 10 days in the UK on their own after leaving India.

Currently, they operate thirty weekly flights between the United Kingdom and India. Heathrow airport refused to allow extra flights from India before the ban, refusing airlines’ requests to ensure that border pressure was not exacerbated. Find out that four airlines have tried to make eight extra flights.

Heathrow has recently had long lines at border control, with passenger forms being checked for entry requirements amid coronavirus restrictions.

Sign for a Covid-19 testing centre at the Heathrow international arrivals hall this January
Source: Theguardian

A parliamentary group from all parties on coronaviruses heard on Tuesday that, while the lines at immigration halls varied, on average there were two to three hour delays in major locations like Heathrow.

At Gatwick airport, some flights from India were due to be made on Thursday, operated by the charter company Enter Air, but were canceled by the airline.

The Civil Aviation Authority confirmed that it had received applications for charter flight licenses from India to the United Kingdom, but were refused or withdrawn because they did not meet the qualification criteria, the BBC reported.

However, Birmingham airport accepted an additional flight from India at 6 pm on Thursday.

In India, boarding passes from some of the country’s busiest airports list flights to destinations around the world. Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport showed that on Thursday and Friday flights were scheduled to depart for Dubai, Kabul, Kathmandu, London, Hong Kong, Muscat, Bangkok and Colombo. A flight was also listed for Sydney, although its status was unknown.

Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport listed scheduled flights to Paris, Kigali, Addis Ababa and Male, as well as Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates and Dammam in Saudi Arabia.

Some countries have tightened their entry restrictions. France said it would impose a 10-day quarantine rule for arrivals from India in the coming days, while Oman said that arrivals from India would be suspended after 6 pm on Saturday.

Quarantine requirements vary between destinations. Thailand requires travelers to submit a negative PCR test done no later than 72 hours before the flight and for quarantine arrivals at a designated facility for 10 days, or seven days if vaccinated. Dubai requires people arriving from India to have a PCR test no later than 48 hours before departure and a second test upon arrival.

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