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UK organises rescue flights for Brits stranded in Goa but high fares put them down

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British Tourists Stranded in Goa
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There are several hundreds of British Nationals stranded in the state due to the lockdown with the hope of going back to their country as early as possible and finally, the UK Government made an arrangement for their airlifting, but the costs of the return tickets have put many of them down. 

According to the reports, The UK government has organised three special flights to rescue its citizens stranded in Goa with the first scheduled for April 8, the British high commission announced on Sunday. Along with these flights, four others have been arranged by the British government from Delhi and Mumbai.

There is no doubt that the Brits were waiting to be airlifted back to their country and the flights did bring to an end the uncertainty about their return home, but what shocked them is the exorbitant hike in the ticket rates.

Source: India Today

“British citizens were unhappy with the steep fares. Many Britons had expected the fares to be capped at £500, but found themselves paying close to £700 for a seat,” stated the report.  

The steep rise in the costs of the tickets made many British nationals to consider staying back in India till the lockdown is lifted. “My friend paid just under £2,000 for him, his wife and son and he said there was no option to pay later. I thought the government said the flights would be £250-500 and you would have the option the pay in 6 months. Anyway, I’m not going as I don’t have the money. I will try and reschedule my Air India flight once they reopen,” Annie Stuart, who is stuck at Palolem, said.     

“Just had to pay £2,050 for flights from Goa for my wife, three-year-old daughter and myself. No option to pay when we get back, no £500 cap. Can’t afford the flights, but had space on a credit card for now. Lots of other people I know won’t be able to do that. Not the level of help was hoping for,” Birmingham resident Jit Coulter-Patel said. 

There were close to 1,500 British nationals stranded in Goa when the state was put under lockdown and all international flights cancelled. However, several of them managed to fly out on repatriation flights organised by European Union nations such as Germany, France, Italy and Poland.         

“These flights are for those who normally reside in the UK and they’re direct dependents. We at the high commission will handle the necessary permissions from the Government of India. Flights will run next week from Goa to London Stansted Airport on April 8, 10 and 12, from Mumbai to Heathrow Airport on April 9 and 11, and from Delhi to London Heathrow Airport on April 9 and 11,” acting British high commissioner Jan Thompson said.

British Tourists Stranded in Goa (Source BBC)

Chief minister Pramod Sawant also confirmed that the UK had finalised relief flights to evacuate its citizens stranded in Goa.  

The high commission has already issued authorisation letters for UK citizens so that they are not blocked at checkpoints when they make their way to the airport. 

The state executive committee has asked the nodal officer for foreigners Amit Satija to resolve any problems faced by foreigner regarding their evacuation and movement back by special flights. 

Source: TOITelegraph   

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