Govt to extend suspension of flights with UK beyond December 31

New Delhi: The government is likely to extend the suspension of flights between India and the UK beyond December 31, 2020, aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri said today.

“We have started applying our minds on the flight ban. I can only see now that there may be a slight extension in the deadline. I, however, do not see a long or indefinite extension. It may be a small extension,” Puri said at a press conference today.

The statement was made after six Indians were found to be infected by the new strain of the virus and all of them had returned to the United Kingdom.

On Monday last week, India announced a ban on all flights to and from the UK starting last Wednesday till the end of this year, after a new strain of Corona Virus was detected in the UK.

The government had also announced that every passenger arriving from the UK on Tuesday will also have to be tested upon arrival. The government also started tracing all passengers, who had come from the UK since November 25, 2020.

This suspension of flights has led to cancellations of 37 one-way direct flights per week to the UK from India operated by four carriers – Air India, Vistara, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.

About 11,000 people were estimated to have been booked on these direct flights between India and the UK. A further extension on suspension of flights will impact plans of several more.

Puri also said that interest on Air India has been received and the qualified interested parties will be informed on January 5, 2021. Once interested parties are selected they will be asked to put their financial bids.

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