Tuesday, April 20, 2010

India's Stranded Travelers

NEW DELHI: India on Tuesday said nearly 40,000 air passengers were still stranded in the country because of volcanic ash over large swathes of Europe.

“On Monday 41,435 international passengers were in Mumbai and New Delhi, and the figure today has come down by around 2,500 as some have left through other routes,” an aviation official who did not want to be named told AFP.

He said 1,100 Indian nationals were stuck in Britain, Canada and Germany, adding a Lufthansa flight from Germany was expected to arrive in India later Tuesday.
State-run Air India and Jet Airways have re-started services to the United States, flying through Athens and Cairo.

The government on Tuesday relaxed visa rules and waived fees for travellers affected by the global flight disruption.

“A large number of foreigners are stranded at different airports in India due to cancellation of flights on account of volcanic eruption in Iceland,” the home ministry said in a statement.

“To avoid hardship to such legitimate foreign travellers, it has been decided to allow special landing permit or extension of visa to them for a maximum period of 14 days without charging any fees,” it added.

Many stranded travellers have complained they were running out of money while searing summer heat in New Delhi has compounded problems.

Large parts of India sizzled Tuesday in a heatwave that has sent temperatures soaring above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) and weather officials say there is no relief in sight.

From here.

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