Saturday 15 August 2020 7:15 AM UTC
By A Staff Reporter
LONDON Aug 15: It has been a long term desire for Keralites in the UK to have direct flights from London to Kerala. Malayalee diaspora including Malayalee organisations here have been long lobbying government and international flight operators for having direct flights to Kerala.
According to reports received by this website it looks like there is going to be several direct flights going to Kerala and returning direct from Kerala to London in the months of August and in September through the Vande Bharath Mission repatriation flights operated by Ai India.
Although there isn’t confirmation from Air India that this will be a new normal process after the Vande Bharath repatriation mission, it can be assumed that it is going to stay for sometime now even after the lockdown has been lifted.
During the time of the repatriation flights, Air India was able to gauge the requirements of flights to India through them asking passengers from the UK to complete the ‘Demand survey for flights to India’. It could be presumed that Air India has found that there is a requirement or reasonable demand for direct flights to Kerala. Several factors could have lead to the decision for Air India to operate more direct flights which was never a norm.
The Malayalees Stranded in UK Whatsapp group, which is now renamed as UK Pravasi Helpdesk Whatsapp group too played an important role as their liaisons with the Indian High Commission in London and with Air India representatives in London to highlight the long list of travellers to Kerala during the early days of the lockdown, could have helped to raise the importance and viability of having direct flights from London to Kerala.
The Whatsapp group helped hundreds to reach Kerala through the Vande Bharath Mission repatriation flights through their persistent efforts highlighting the requirement on a weekly basis. Sanjay Menon, representing this group, was in the forefront in directly communicating with Air India and his efforts could also have played an important role in Air India now taking the decision to continue with direct flights to Kerala
Legal measures pursued by a solicitor from the UK and Advocate Anitha Mutherenthy at the Kerala High Court on behalf of Keralites in UK, demanding direct flights from London to Kochi would also have played an important role in Air India making this decision for direct flights to Kerala and return to London.
The seriousness of having direct flight for the vulnerable travelling from London to Kerala was brought to the attention of Kerala High Court and Air India by Anitha when she was representing some vulnerable passengers who requested for their flights to be direct rather than stopover flights.
Pressures were also exerted by other major organisations like Malayalee Association of UK, Union of UK Malayalee Associations (UUKMA) and Loka Kerala Sabha through various diplomatic circles for direct flights from London to Kochi.
Air India has still not responded to a letter sent to them by this website requesting confirmation on whether the direct flights to Kerala would continue even after the lockdown is lifted.
According to information received by this website there will be a direct flight from London to Kochi on Aug 29th and there will be four direct flights in the month of September 2020.
Reports made available to this website states that there is a direct Air India flight available for booking on Saturday 5th September 2020 departing from London Heathrow at 09:45 and reaching Kochi on Sunday 6th September 2020 at 00:15. There are also direct flights on September 12th, 19th and 26th.
There is also good news to those returning from Kerala to London too. There will be direct flights from Kochi to London on September 4th, 11th, 18th and 25th.
For further details please contact Neil Travels on 02085481210 or any other travel agents you prefer.
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