As the pandemic rages across the country and cases continue to spike amid an acute shortage of oxygen and hospital beds, rich Indians are either paying exorbitant amounts for flight tickets scrambling for charter flights.
According to a report by Times of India, with the US set to restrict 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 have 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 has begun.
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 had shelled out an estimated 100,000 pounds to schedule private jets to fly them to the United Kingdom ahead of the country’s “red listing” of Indian travellers 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.
Meanwhile, the Indian Air Force airlifted from abroad 47 oxygen containers with a total capacity of 830 metric tonnes while defence public sector undertakings (DPSUs) are procuring 28 oxygen plants and other medical equipment worth Rs 40 crore to help the civilian authorities in the treatment of COVID-19 patients. These details emerged at a video conference chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday where he reviewed efforts of the armed forces, DPSUs and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in India’s fight against the pandemic.