Air India has been currently operating evacuation flights from London to Mumbai and New Delhi as a part of Vande Bharat Mission. Now, it is soon going to operate direct flights between Kochi and London. It should be noted that it is going to be a first flight doing so.
Air India is going to operate special evacuation flights that will direct link Kochi and London. The flights will begin to fly from August 28 and will be operating till September 27. The flights will be operated only two days a week that is On Fridays and Sundays.
According to a statement by Kochi airport, On Sundays Flight AI 1186 will fly from London and will land at Kochi at 12:15 am, then on the same day, it will depart from Kochi to London at 12:20 pm.
On Fridays, the flight from London will land at Kochi at 4:00 am and after two hours later that is 6:00 am, it will depart for London.
Air India has already been providing evacuation flights for Mumbai and New Delhi and feeder flights to the Kochi. But now in the Coronavirus situation, it becomes difficult to do this with feeder flights as there are some vulnerable groups who are at the risk of exposure to the virus during transit process at Mumbai or New Delhi.
Tom Aditya who is mayor emeritus of Bradley Stoke, Bristol in England said that the flights that will operate direct between Kochi and London beginning on 28 August are the first direct flight to a European city from Kerala.
He also told about his and advocate Shaima Ammal, a Malayalee solicitor from London struggles to make it happen. Both of them keep pushing for a direct flight between Kochi and London.
Tom Aditya who is also a leader of the Local conservative party said that they have been pursuing these flights for many years. When he became Mayor it was one of his requests to Indian authorities.
Aditya and Shaima had made this initiative possible during the lockdown period since Aditya was closely linked to Vande Bharat Mission evacuation flights. He is happy about the flights and said that many people were yearning for the flight for many years. Written representations were sent to the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, High Commission of India in London and Air India to allow these direct flights.
He also thanked Alphons Kannamthanam MP who requested and standby this issue in the parliamentary committees.