India-UK flights resumed! The commercial flight service between Delhi and the United Kingdom’s London has resumed after it was suspended by the Government of India due to a new strain of Covid virus traced in that country. The first flight carrying 256 passengers arrived at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) today from London. Notably, the total number of cases infected with the new strain of the novel Coronavirus, first reported in the UK, stood at 82.
Delhi Government has issued an order for all passengers arriving from the UK. “All those arriving from the UK, who test positive will be isolated in an isolation facility. Negative ones will be taken to a quarantine facility for 7 days followed by 7 days home quarantine,” the Delhi government said. This order will be applicable on a trial basis for a period of one week till January 14, 2021, the government advisory signed by Chief Secretary of Delhi Vijay Dev stated.
Delhi Airport in an advisory to passengers said that flyers arriving from the UK will need to undergo mandatory RT-PCR Covid test in that country as well as in India. The flyers are required to upload a “negative RT-PCR test report” through a self-reporting form on the Air Suvidha Portal before boarding the flight from the UK. The sample for the RT-PCR test must be collected within 72 hours of the journey. Furthermore, the arriving passengers must also undergo RT-PCR Test at the first arrival port in India and must pay the cost for the same. The cost of the Covid-19 test and lounge at the Delhi Airport is Rs 3,400 per passenger.
Delhi Airport Authority has also advised the flyers to maintain a gap of a minimum of 10 hours between their international flight’s estimated time of arrival and the connecting domestic flight’s time of departure.
Since, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has decided to start regulated resumption of limited flights originating from the UK to India, starting January 8 till January 30, 2021, Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL) along with Genestrings Diagnostic Lab, has been working closely with the authorities to ensure smooth operations, Dr. Gauri Agarwal, founder, and director of Genestrings diagnostic, the lab conducting the RT-PCR tests at the Delhi airport, said
“It takes 4-6 hours to get the reports, however, as a mandate, all the passengers in the flight, including crew members will have to be halted until all results are declared. Arrangements are in place to ensure that the RT-PCR tests for all the passengers arriving from the UK get conducted smoothly,” Dr. Gauri Agarwal said.
There will be a maximum of three flights in a day from the UK to Delhi Airport. On January 9, flight number UK018 with passengers of 291 is scheduled to arrive at 10.25 am. On January 10, two flights BA 143 and AI 162 are scheduled to arrive at 6.30 am and 10.25 pm respectively with total passengers of 225 and 256. On January 11, AI 162 is scheduled to arrive at 10.25 am with 256 passengers.