Thursday 16 July 2020 8:29 AM UTC
Kairali TV chairman and noted Malayalam actor Mammootty helped several stranded expats to return to Kerala on free chartered flights it organised on June 21 and 23.
By A Staff Reporter
LONDON July 16: Efforts to organise private chartered flights by organisations and groups from the UK and the Gulf has diminished with more Air India repatriation flights announced under the Vande Bharath Mission.
Although the Indian government had approved the usage of chartered flights to repatriate those stranded Indians, it wasn’t an easy task for those groups and organisations as travellers were looking out for all possibilities for them to travel to their destinations at the first available opportunity.
They were not too much bothered about when and from where the next flight would be leaving as their priority was to reach their destination safely.
Some rules relating to the Standard Operating Protocols for chartered flights and the necessity of having the Trunat Covid negative test certificate caused more hiccups to these groups and organisations in the UK and Gulf.
At times the message which came out from the Indian and Kerala government too caused uncertainties.
Malayalees stranded in Kerala were too trying to arrange a chartered flight to London. They too faced the same issues such as securing clearance and such.
One of the group members from a Whatsapp group which was run to organise a chartered flight from Kerala to London told this website that he got fed up and finally opted for the Air India repatriation flight.
“The intention was all good but so many red tapes and also change of rules resulted in several getting fed up and opting to fly Air India.
Although it wasn’t the ideal choice the uncertainties and the news which was coming out from the governments made me take the Air India route to London”, JP, a person who travelled from Kerala to London said.
One of the Whatsapp group Admins from Kerala said: “We were constantly looking out for passengers as we required a minimum list.
However, due to regular Air India flights announced the numbers reduced and this caused us lots of uncertainties as we required a minimum number to travel and only then we would be able to share the ticket price economically. If we had less numbers then the individual pay would be a big amount”.
Although initially tickets were prioritised by the Indian embassies in different countries. However, later stranded travellers were allowed to book the flights online after registering with the Indian High Commission in their respective countries.
This helped the passengers to take control of their travel and they could easily sit and get this done from the comforts of their homes. This also resulted in those looking to travel by chartered flights.
Finally with the low number of passengers, Air India are now asking those stranded to register their interest to travel for various destinations and if there are enough passengers then they will arrange a flight to that destination.
There are also reports now that Air India is alerting through groups and individuals when there are seats available and those who need to contact them immediately
Finally with news that international travel will be opened up further from 1st August efforts to organise chartered flights have somewhat come to a halt.
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