The Centre is all set to resume flights between the United Kingdom (UK) and India which were closed since last week of December amid concerns over the ‘highly infectious’ new mutated strain of COVID-19 detected first in the UK.
As per the health ministry guidelines, passengers travelling from the UK to India from January 8 to 31 will now be subjected to mandatory self-paid RT-PCR test at the airport. The cost of RT-PCR test for passengers arriving from the UK will be Rs 3,400 per person.
On Wednesday (January 6), the first Air India flight for the UK left Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport with 252 passengers. Another flight from Mumbai left for London on Wednesday evening. Around 491 passengers have flown out of the country in these two flights, reported Times Now.
Both the Air India flights are likely to return today to their base in Delhi and in Mumbai, and these will be the first flights coming to India from the UK since midnight of December 23, 2020. On January 8, one Air India flight will fly from Mumbai to London Heathrow and another return flight has also been announced.
The Centre has laid down strict procedures that the incoming passengers are needed to follow upon their arrival. In a set of standard operating procedures (SOP), the health ministry said all the incoming passengers from the UK will require declaring their travel history of the past 14 days.
The IGI airport passenger advisory mentioned that passengers are advised to maintain a gap of minimum of 10 hours between their international flight’s estimated time of arrival and the connecting domestic flight’s time of departure.
The flight services between the two nations were suspended on December 23 in the wake of reports of the virus reported from the UK and the government put in place a preventive strategy to detect and contain the mutant variant.
Earlier, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri had said that only 30 flights per week will operate between India and the UK when services resume from January 8, adding that the arrangement will continue till January 23.