Rich personalities in India have been fleeing the nation on private jets and commercial airfares are increasing as the country’s COVID-19 pressure worsens and international borders close down. Indian businesspeople and rich families have left India across Europe, the Middle East, and Indian Ocean destinations such as the Maldives, which will suspend flights from India, sparking a last-minute hurry. Australia will cease passenger flights from India until May 15, the federal government declared on Tuesday, and Canada, Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates, and the UK have already done the same.
Ranbir Kapoor, Bollywood’s sixth highest-paid actor has been slammed after sharing pictures on Instagram with his girlfriend Alia Bhatt as they landed at Mumbai airport on April 19, with the caption “Maldives calling”. Both had only just recovered from coronavirus themselves before traveling on a plane. They joined fellow Bollywood stars Disha Patani and Tiger Shroff, who flew off to the Maldives the day before as India continued to battle with destructive infection rates.
While Ranbir, Alia, 28, and Tiger kept a low profile on social media during their trip, Disha, 28, bikini-clad pictures and selfies on her Instagram. Wealthy Indians are spending as much as 1.5 million rupees, or more than dollars A25,800, for a one-way flight out of India, which includes ground handling and other fees, said Rajan Mehra, the chief executive officer of the New Delhi-based private jet firm Club One Air. Mr. Mehra said in some cases, travelers would have to pay extra if the plane needed to be sent back to India empty.UAE authorities inflicted a 10-day embargo on flights from India on Sunday. Previously, the Delhi-Dubai route was one of the busiest in the world.
A representative for Air Charter Service India told AFP the demand for private jets was “absolutely crazy” before the ban came into effect. Another provider, Enthral Aviation, got close to 80 inquiries for flights to Dubai in a single day.“We have requested more aircraft from abroad to meet the demand. It costs dollars US38,000 (dollars A49,000) to hire a 13-seater jet from Mumbai to Dubai, and dollarsUS31,000 (dollars A40,000) to hire a six-seater aircraft,” a spokesman for Enthral Aviation told AFP.
Commercial airline prices are soaring as seats on flights out of India become harder to come by. In the final days before the UAE’s flight ban came into effect, a one-way flight in economy class from Mumbai to Dubai cost as much as 1600 dollars— more than ten times the regular price. But as the country continues to set new records for infections and the hospital system threatens to crumble, it’s a price many of the wealthy have been willing to pay. On Tuesday India recorded a huge increase in virus cases, with 323,144 new infections and 2771 deaths, bringing the numbers to more than 17.6 million.