135 UK nationals evacuated by special flight from Hyderabad international airport

18 April, 2020 | Priyanka Sharma

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135 UK nationals were recently airlifted by a British Airways Special Relief Flight amid coronavirus pandemic. The UK nationals were evacuated from Hyderabad city in Telangana state.

• 136 UK nationals airlifted by a British Airways Special Relief Flight

• RGIA has handled 8 evacuation flights so far

• Operating cargo services to keep the vital link of essential supplies fully alive and operational

With the ongoing pandemic of COVID-19 taking its toll across the globe and India being under lockdown; GMR led Hyderabad International Airport is operating round the clock in the service of the nation on humanitarian grounds helping stranded passengers, beyond boundaries, reach their homes through seamless handling of relief and evacuation flights.

The Hyderabad International Airport handled one Special Passenger Relief flight of British Airways to repatriate UK nationals from Hyderabad city in Telangana State. 135 UK nationals to Ahmedabad, from where few more UK nationals were to be airlifted to Bahrain and then onwards to London.

All these passengers were serviced through the fully-sanitised Interim International Departures Terminal (IIDT) of GMR Hyderabad International Airport, which has been kept ready for evacuation operations. In coordination with the British Deputy High Commission Hyderabad and the Telangana State government, the UK-bound passengers arrived at the airport from from various parts of Hyderabad City.

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Mr. SGK Kishore, CEO, GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd. (GHIAL), said, “The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has left many people stranded in various parts of the globe, away from their families and loved ones and there are many foreign nationals who have been stranded here in India. We appreciate the efforts by the Government to repatriate these stranded people and we are committed to working with all stakeholders to ensure a smooth and safe passage for these travellers.

Today, we have partnered with the British Deputy High Commission in Hyderabad and the Government of Telangana to support the operation of a special flight to evacuate UK citizens stranded in this region. As always, Hyderabad Airport stands ready to do its duty in service of the nation and society and I would like to express my gratitude for the efforts by all involved including our staff, airport community members, the British Deputy High Commission and the state government officials who have been working for many days to ensure that today’s flight could go ahead as planned despite the challenging circumstances”

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Mr. Andrew Fleming, British Deputy High Commissioner to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, said, “I am pleased to see over 130 British nationals and their close dependents from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh on their way back home this evening. We are extremely grateful for the support provided by both state governments and police departments, British Airways, staff at the Hyderabad airport for their fantastic support in making today’s operation possible. I am delighted we’ve so far been able to help more than 4,000 British travellers return home from across India.”

Special screening and safety measures were in place during the flight’s handling to protect against the COVID-19 threat including thermal screening prior to terminal entry, mandatory social distancing enforced through special queuing arrangements at all passenger processing points.

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To meet this emergency requirement, a select group of personnel from GHIAL Terminal Operations, Airside Operations, AOCC (Airport Operations & Control Center), ATC (Air Traffic Control), IT Team, CISF (Central Industrial Security Force), Immigration, Customs, Landside Security, Airline Ground Handlers, ARFF (Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting) services, RAXA security, Trolley Operators, Housekeeping Staff, among others were available to ensure safe and seamless departure of the passengers.

Till 17th April, 2020, Hyderabad International Airport has served over 600 foreign nationals, who were repatriated by various special relief flights from Hyderabad city to the countries viz. the UK, the US and Germany.

While RGIA is handling the evacuation flights as and when a request comes their way, its cargo terminal is also fully operational to keep the vital link of essential supplies completely alive. The cargo terminal is working round the clock in close coordination with the Customs, Ground Handlers, Forwarders, CHAs (Customs House Agents), Regulators, State Police, Cargo Trade associations, to keep the critical chain of essential supplies viz. Medicines, Vaccines, Medical equipment, Pharma raw material, Defense Goods, Bank related goods etc. moving seamlessly.

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