India-UK flight cancellation affects students

Many Indian students who planned to travel back home to be with their friends and family in India over the Christmas and New Year period are among those caught up in Monday’s suspension of all flights to and from the UK as the world reacts to a new rapid-spreading strain of coronavirus detected in parts of England.

Many students would have made travel plans earlier in December after UK universities set up tests to leave the campus processes in place.

While tourist visas largely remain suspended, those in the UK for family reasons are also among those caught out by the cancellation.

The Indian High Commission in London issued several messages on its social media platforms with updates about the flight cancellations from the Ministry of Civil Aviation in India.

‘This suspension to start w.e.f.23.59 hours, 22nd December 2020. Consequently, flights from India to UK shall stand temporarily suspended during the above said period,’ it said, in a statement in response to a barrage of queries by travellers if inbound flights from India to the UK may be allowed to land.

Air India, which has been operating flights under the Vande Bharat mission to ferry passengers during the coronavirus pandemic lockdown this year, also confirmed immediate cancellations.

‘In view of the Ministry of Civil Aviation directive of suspension of all flights to/from UK from 2359 hrs of 22nd December to 2359 hrs of 31st December, 2020, no Air India flight will operate to the UK during this period,’ it said.