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Scramble for charter flights, rich Indians pay through nose to book US tickets

As the pandemic rages across the country and cases continue to spike amid acute shortage of oxygen and hospital beds, rich Indians are either paying exorbitant amounts for flight tickets scrambling for charter flights.

According to a Times of India report, with the US restricting from May 4 the entry of most non-Americans who are currently in India, one-way fares for flights bound for the western country from cities such as Mumbai and Delhi shot up. Meanwhile, with restrictions on travel to London and Dubai and no seats left on non-stop flights between India and the US, the scramble for charter flights also began.

The cheapest fare available for travel from Delhi to New York on the same day began at Rs 7 lakh, for a flight via Tokyo and onwards.

Meanwhile, super-rich Indians have reportedly shelled out an estimated 100,000 pounds to schedule private jets to fly them to the UK ahead of the country’s “red listing” of Indian travelers began on April 23.

Data analysis by the Times London showed that at least eight private jets flew into Britain from India in 24 hours before the new travel ban could come into force at 4 am on April 23. The journey from India to the UK is on average nine-hours long.

In fact, one of the jets — a 13-seater Bombardier Global 6000 from Mumbai— landed at London’s Luton airport just 45 minutes ahead of the deadline, while three other flights arrived narrowly missing the deadline.

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No exact date of resuming int’l flights from Russia: Kremlin

Moscow: Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that there was no exact date of resuming flights between Russia and other countries amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but the issue was on the agenda.

“This issue (on resuming flights) is on the agenda. There are no exact dates yet,” TASS News Agency quoted Peskov as saying to the media on Monday, adding that it was up to the government to decide on this matter.

Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin had earlier ordered to draw up proposals on a possible date of resuming flights.

An airline source told TASS that the Federal Air Transport Agency in the near future planned to send to the Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing its proposals on resuming flights from Russia to 15 countries since July 15.

According to the source, there were plans to open flights to “nearly all countries” for business aviation.

The list of countries will be drawn up jointly by the Federal Air Transport Agency and the Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing.

In March, Russia fully suspended flights with other countries amid the pandemic, except for evacuation, cargo and mail flights.

Amid the lockdown introduced in most Russian regions, in April passenger traffic of Russian airlines dropped 91.8 per cent to slightly more than 770,000 passengers.

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