Flights between India and UK to resume on January 6, 2021 in limited capacity

India had banned the arrival of passengers from the UK to India on direct flights and transit flights, initially till December 31, 2020, and then extended the ban until January 7, 2021. Now, India’s Government has given out the plan for resumption of flights between India and UK, which have an air bubble established between them. Here is how India UK flights resume going forward.

The minister in charge for aviation tweeted out last night that flights between India and the UK will resume on January 6, 2021. For the next 15 days or so, it will be restricted to 15 flights per week for carriers of the two countries (British Airways and Virgin Atlantic for the UK, Vistara and Air India for India). Also, the airports will be limited to Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.

This means each carrier gets one flight per day to operate to any of the four airports in the list if the flights are equitably divided between the airlines and not pro-rated to their December 2020 operations.

I expect the larger impact of this move on Air India and British Airways, who are the dominant carriers from either side and have the lions share of flights scheduled.

All UK departures to be tested on departure and arrival, transit passengers won’t be allowed.

As per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, as a part of the new protocols for those who travel from the UK to India, there are instructions to the DGCA to ensure that any passengers are not allowed to travel from the UK to India through a transit airport of a third country, to ensure there are no omissions in the monitoring of those passengers.

All the passengers coming from the UK during the intervening period from January 8-30, 2021 shall be subjected to the following:

  • All passengers should submit self-declaration form on the online portal (www.newdelhiairport.in) at least 72 hours before the scheduled travel.
  • All the passengers arriving from the UK should be carrying Negative RT-PCR Test Report for which test should have been conducted within 72 hours before undertaking the journey. The same also shall be uploaded on the online portal (www.newdelhiairport.in)
  • Airlines to ensure the availability of negative test report before allowing the passenger to board the flight.
  • All the passengers arriving from the UK in all international flights would be mandatorily subjected to self-paid RT-PCR tests on arrival at the Indian airports concerned (port of entry).
  • Passengers testing positive shall be isolated in an institutional isolation facility in a separate (isolation) unit coordinated by the respective state Health Authorities. They would earmark specific facilities for such isolation and treatment and take necessary action to send the positive samples to Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) Labs.
    • Suppose the sequencing report is consistent with the current SARS-CoV-2 virus genome circulating in the country. In that case, the ongoing treatment protocol including home isolation/treatment at the facility level as per case severity may be followed.
    • If the genomic sequencing indicates a new variant of SARS-CoV-2, the patient will continue to remain in a separate isolation unit. While necessary treatment as per the existing protocol will be given, the patient shall be tested on 14th day after testing positive in the initial test. The patient will be kept in the isolation facility till his sample is tested negative.
  • Those who are found negative on testing with RT-PCR at the airport would be advised quarantine at home for 14 days and regularly followed up by the concerned State/District.
  • All the contacts of those travellers who arrived at various airports between January 8-30, 2021 and tested positive on arrival during the air travel would be subjected to institutional quarantine in separate quarantine centres. They would be tested as per ICMR guidelines. The suspect case’s contacts are the co-passengers seated in the same row, three rows in front and three rows behind, along with identified Cabin Crew.
  • All the community contacts of those travellers who have tested positive (during home quarantine period) would be subjected to institutional quarantine in separate Quarantine Centers for 14 days and tested as per ICMR protocol.

The full guidelines are enclosed here.

Bottomline

Flights between India and the UK will restart from January 6 onwards after a temporary ban. Until January 23, 2021, there will only be limited flights allowed between the two countries, only at four designated airports. Everyone travelling from the UK to India will have to get tested for CoVid-19 and produce a negative RT-PCR report before departure and get a second test done in India on arrival. Appropriate isolation will be assigned to those who are tested positive. Transit passengers won’t be allowed from the UK to India.

What do you think of the new protocols put in place as India UK Flights Resume? 


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Comments

  1. Just spoke to the customer care team at Mumbai airport and they advised that all arriving passengers from the UK have to undergo a minimum of 7 days institutional quarantine even if the PCR test on arrival is negative, which is completely different from what is stated per the latest update. Don’t know who to believe at the moment.

  2. The Mumbai airport website states that short business trips of 7 days or less are exempt from home quarantine. Is this still valid?

  3. The official government document also states Chennai as an approved airport. This is also mentioned in the PDF that you linked to Ajay. Not sure why is everyone cutting out Chennai?

  4. Any reason why MAA is being cut out of its share of international travel. Flights from Germany and France were blocked and now the flight from London too. What do you think is the reason for this?

    • @Akash, this is about containing the entry of CoVid into India. DEL/BOM/BLR/HYD have better connections and hence can connect pax into more parts of the country than MAA, and perhaps that is why MAA is not included in the list for now. This is temporary, not permanent, of course.

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