COVID-19 repatriation flights for British national stuck in India will start this week from popular destinations like Goa, Mumbai and Delhi as part of a “huge” operation .
But there are calls for more flights from other areas of India where people are trapped due to tight restrictions on movement and for cheaper fares.
Flights from Goa will operate on April 8, 10 and 12 while services from Delhi and Mumbai have been scheduled for April 9 and 11.
Prices are between £580 and £680 only people in those locations already are able to reserve a seat and people have been warned they are not guaranteed to get on currently scheduled services.
Further flights are expected as part of the UK government’s £75 million repatriation including from other parts of India where there are large numbers of British nationals.
No travellers suffering from COVID-19 symptoms will be allowed to travel.
The Independent reported that the announcement of the flying schedule prompted fury about the cost and particularly among British nationals in the Punjab who remain trapped.
The Foreign Office is advising against all but essential travel to India and is offering advice on its website for people wanting to return from the country to the UK.
Acting high commissioner to India Jan Thompson said: “We know how worrying the past few weeks have been for British nationals in India.
“I hope this announcement will bring relief, especially to those in greatest need.
“Due to the large numbers of British travellers involved, the scale of this operation is huge.
“The UK government continues to work hard with our Indian counterparts in New Delhi and London to arrange a safe journey back for as many people as possible.”
Foreign Office minister Lord Ahmad added: “The UK is working around the clock to support the large numbers of British travellers who wish to return to the UK from India and around the world.
“In the absence of commercial flights, these first charter flights from India should provide relief to some of our British travellers who are desperate to return home, especially for the most vulnerable and those in greatest need.”
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