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Private jet business booms as rich Indians flee Covid-19 surge

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Wealthy Indians and anyone who can afford the airfares are jetting out of the country over the worsening spread of Covid-19.

Airfares soared up to 10 times the regular price, and demand for private jets boomed over the weekend, as Indians scrambled to book flights to Europe, the Indian Ocean, and the Middle East.

The sudden rush to leave India comes amid concerns of travel restrictions being imposed, as countries including UK, Canada, UAE, and Hong Kong announced travel bans.

The Maldives restricted Indians from visiting from Tuesday, 27 April, leading to a last-minute rush in departures.

Indian hospitals have run out of medical oxygen and bed spaces as the country recorded 352,911 new Covid-19 cases on Monday, the highest daily toll recorded globally.

UAE, home to about three million Indians who make up one-third of the population, is one of the preferred destinations of those fleeing from the virus.

Bollywood stars are reported to be among those fleeing the South Asian country.

“It’s not only the ultra-rich. Whoever can afford to take a private jet are taking private jets,” Rajan Mehra, chief executive officer at Club One Air, a New Delhi-based private plane firm, told Bloomberg.

“There was a huge surge to London and Dubai just before the restrictions took place, and the Maldives too before they announced the ban.”

While noting that a one-way flight from New Delhi to Dubai now costs as much as 1.5 million rupees ($20,000), Mehra said: “that shows how desperately people are trying to get away.”

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