‘It was Australia’s call’: Vande Bharat flights to India suffer setback

No change in flights scheduled for 3 and 4 July, but later flights postponed

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Vande Bharat flights to India suffer setback
Nandakumaran Konnat of the Consulate General of India (Sydney)

In a surprise announcement yesterday 2 July, the Vande Bharat flights exiting Australia have suffered a setback, with some flights now not taking off.

Nandakumaran Konnat, Consul at the Consulate General of India (Sydney) in his interview yesterday with Pawan Luthra had indicated that flights out of Melbourne might have to be changed given the pandemic situation in Victoria.

But the announcement last night that both Sydney and Melbourne flights would be affected, was not expected.

Phase III in the Vande Bharat mission was all set to begin today 3 July.

“The flights today to Mumbai are still on as scheduled,” Mr. Konnat said in an early morning statement to Indian Link. “There is no change in tomorrow’s flights as well to Visakhapatnam. The 5 July flights to Chennai have been put back to 17 July, and those scheduled for 8 July will now be postponed to 18 July”.  

Regarding the reasons for the change, Mr Konnat disclosed this was Australia’s call.

“We were asked by the Australian authorities to postpone flights till after 15 July,” he said. “The flights on which we put our passengers actually first bring people back – those that are stranded in India. Perhaps there were restrictions in quarantine facilities here in Australia, we’re not fully sure. Perhaps again, the recent outbreak in Victoria might have put them on high alert.”

We wanted to continue with our schedules, he revealed, but there were preconditions that could not be met.

Mr Konnat added, “For passengers who might be affected, rest assured your tickets still stand.”

He also sent out a request for patience and understanding.

“Please understand that the situation is dynamic. It might be easy for me to say this, especially as you are all under stress and eager to return home. We were all looking forward to the return of normalcy in recent weeks, but the fresh outbreak has reminded us that we still need to be cautious for our own safety and that of our community.”

Meanwhile the Australian High Commission in India has also put out a notice that flights out of Delhi to both Sydney and Melbourne are postponed, although today’s flight to Sydney is on as scheduled.

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