The United Kingdom has announced the first charter flights which will take British nationals stranded in India back home. These flights will depart from Delhi, Mumbai and Goa on different dates. Currently, there are 35000 UK citizens in India and the country's High Commission based in Delhi is working with its counterparts to send people back as soon as possible. More flights will be arranged from different locations in India shortly.
Seven charter flights have been scheduled from different Indian cities to bring home British nationals stranded in India due to lock-down. The flights announce will be taking the passengers directly to London. While flights from Delhi and Mumbai will depart on the same dates (9 and 11 April), they will depart on 8, 10 and 12 April from Goa. In a statement, the High Commission said that more flights will leave from other location in India regarding which they will inform shortly.
In a statement, the 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."
The high commission requested people to visit the booking portal for reserving their seats while adding that there would more flights from different Indian cities regarding which the information will be shared soon. The mission said that ''ensuring the safety and well-being of British nationals'' was its top priority and it will ''continue to provide consular support to any British nationals who remain in India and require assistance''.
Foreign Office Minister of State, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon said: "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."
Currently, the estimated number of British nationals in India is 35000. According to the High Commission, about 20000 people have made requests to go back. The flight arrangements are strictly for British nationals and their direct dependants. A number of seats will be reserved for those considered ''vulnerable'' and they will be ''contacted directly'', read the statement from the High Commission.