British Airways to fly back thousands of British travellers stranded in India

British Airways will fly back thousands of British travellers stranded in India as a result of the Covid-19 crisis to the UK this week.

The airline is flying back thousands of travellers as part of 65 rescue flights that have either operated or are planned to operate in the coming days from destinations worldwide. The airline is also carrying hundreds of tonnes of essential supplies including medicines and personal protective equipment (PPE) to the UK through IAG Cargo. More flights from India to the UK will continue to operate this week. The repatriation effort has been collaboration between the UK and Indian Government authorities, British Airways and the airport teams in both Britain and India.

In India, the airline will serve 11 airports across the country with special flight departures over a period of two weeks. Flights are taking off from Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai, and the airline has also extended its operation to serve additional cities which include Goa, Amritsar, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram.

Alex Cruz, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO, said: ‘It is an honour to support the government’s repatriation efforts and keep a small fleet of aircraft flying to bring stranded Britons back to the UK. When families step foot on board our aircraft and tell us how emotional it feels to be coming home, it reminds us why the job we are doing is still so important. We are hugely proud of our colleagues who continue to work with such dedication and commitment through this crisis to fly people and essential supplies across the world.’

The Foreign Office’s Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, said: ‘We know this is a difficult time for British travellers in India and we are pleased to have partnered with airlines, including British Airways, to get them home.

‘This is a huge and logistically-complex operation, and we are working tirelessly with the Indian Government and state authorities to help more British travellers get home.’

Any British national who may have not got confirmed travel back to the UK are advised to visit the India Travel Advice page ( and use the city-specific webpages to register themselves, the airline said.

British Airways suspends all flights to China amid coronavirus outbreak

British Airways, the flag carrier airline of the United Kingdom, has suspended all flights to and from mainland China as coronavirus hit the province of Hubei, Alliance News has reported.

The move comes as the British government is working on urgent plans to bring UK nationals back from Hubei. The Foreign Office has warned against ‘all but essential travel’ to mainland China, saying it may become more difficult for British nationals in other provinces to leave following the virus outbreak. The death toll in China has risen to 132, with confirmed virus infections rising to nearly 6,000.

The British airline, which operates daily flights to Shanghai and Beijing from Heathrow, said that it was suspending the flights, with immediate effect following Foreign Office instruction.

British Airways said: ‘We have suspended all flights to and from mainland China with immediate effect following advice from the Foreign Office against all but essential travel.

‘We apologise to customers for the inconvenience, but the safety of our customers and crew is always our priority. Customers due to travel to or from China in the coming days can find more information on’

Citing an unnamed source in Wuhan city, the report said that UK citizens were being given details of forthcoming flights, adding that flights taking Britons back home could begin as early as Thursday.

The deadline for those stuck in the city of Wuhan and surrounding areas to contact the British consulate if they wished to leave passed at 3am UK time, which was 11am local time, it added.

The Foreign Office said that UK nationals in China should ‘make decisions based on their own personal circumstances’ over whether to leave other parts of the country. The British embassy in Beijing has said UK citizens may get transport facility quickly and with short notice.

In the UK, people returning will be asked to ‘self-isolate’ and stay indoors for 14 days, but there are no plans to forcibly quarantine them, the report said. The Department of Health and Social Care said that 97 people in the UK have been given the all-clear for the virus, although scientists predict it may have entered the country.

China has imposed travel restrictions between its major cities, and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism has suspended all tour activities to prevent further virus spread.