Record number of students head from India to UK

Air India announces special flights for students from Kolkata
/ Kolkata
Record number of students head from India to UK

A record number of 3,200 students from India have been accepted by the UK universities and higher education courses throughout the country, say the latest figures from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). This comes days after India was moved off the Covid-19 travel ban Red List on to Amber.
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The easing of travel would heavily impact Indian students planning to travel to Britain to take up their courses as they no longer need to quarantine in a government-managed facility for 10 days at considerable additional cost. Instead, they can quarantine for the required 10 days at a chosen destination, which for many will be their university accommodation, or a friend or family home address.

The National Indian Students and Alumni Union (NISAU) UK had been raising the plight of Indian students facing additional compulsory hotel quarantine costs of GBP 1,750 under the Red List.

“We are absolutely thrilled to see the number of Indian students accepted onto courses go up by nearly a fifth as part of the overall significant increase in the numbers choosing to come to the UK to study,” said Sanam Arora, NISAU UK chairperson.

To facilitate the students, national carrier Air India has announced special flights to transport students to the UK. Starting with two special flights from Kolkata to London, Air India plans to operate similar flights departing from Amritsar, Ahmedabad, and Kochi. Currently, the carrier operates regular flights to the UK from Delhi and Mumbai only.

“It’s a great initiative but came a little late. Most children have had to buy tickets with strict cancellations conditions at high costs. I am sure the ones that were patient will benefit more,” Aparna Basumallik, country manager, Europamundo told India Outbound.

Travel agents in Kolkata have been lobbying for the return of the direct flight between Kolkata and London that was introduced on September 16, 2020, but withdrawn after December 22, 2020, as India severed air connectivity with the UK for 10 days to check the spread of the UK variant of the Covid-19 virus. During the second wave, India has similarly been isolated to stop the spread of the Delta and Delta plus variants that are considered to be much more infectious than the earlier strains.

“This is a great initiative, but still requires more awareness. We also need regular flights re-instated between CCU and LHR. Otherwise, we would lose a big chunk of our businesses outside the student community,” Manav Soni, managing director of Exclusive Travels, a leading outbound operator of Kolkata told India Outbound.

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