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Universities consider charter flights for international students

Universities around the world are planning on chartering planes for international students to bring them onto campuses, as part of a bid to tackle travel disruption caused by Covid-19. 

Universities around the world are planning to charter flights to get int'l students onto their campuses. Photo: Pexels

“The University of Canberra and the Australian National University  are set to fly in 350 students in July”

In the UK, the University of Bolton has made plans to fly in students from India, China and before the new semester starts in September. 

“We will ensure that from the moment they leave their home… their safety is paramount

Similar plans have been made or are being considered by universities in Northern Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. 

Speaking during a British Council webinar about the future of transnational education, vice-chancellor of the University of Exeter and the UK’s International Education Champion, Steve Smith, said that the key issue of the pandemic is how it is going to affect people’s ability to travel. 

“We are looking at chartering planes in the autumn to bring students from other parts of the world,” he said.  

“Because if they can’t travel on commercial flights, if that is the case then TNE will be more of an interesting option for us because frankly, people may not be able to travel. I think it’s that balance that’s key.”

Universities are stepping in, not only to get students onto flights but also to support them with other parts of their journey onto campus. 

For example, the University of Bolton has been working with Manchester Airport and Bolton Council to organise airport pick-up, onward travel by dedicated coaches, and quarantine support for students.

George Holmes, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Bolton, said that students’ safety would be paramount throughout their entire journey and when they arrive on campus.

“The University of Bolton is open for international students. They are an incredibly important part of our institution,” he said. 

“We will ensure that from the moment they leave their home in whatever country they are from, that their safety is paramount.

“We will assist and support international students on the entire journey, ensuring that they remain within their own ‘bubble’ from the moment they set off until the moment they come out of quarantine in the UK,” he added.

At Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland, a flight has been chartered from to bring students from Beijing to Northern Ireland in September. 

All students who currently hold an offer for Queen’s and INTO Queen’s – and who meet the conditions associated with their offer – are eligible for the flight.

It is also open to current students returning to Belfast to start their next academic year. Safety is still a concern. 

“Students are required to take a Covid-19 test 48 hours before flight departure. They are required to provide evidence of the test in order to board the flight,” a statement on the university’s website reads.

The chartering of flights is not only being used to assist the pool of incoming international students. The approach will also help existing students return to universities and resume their studies.

SBS Punjabi reported that The University of Canberra and the Australian National University are set to fly in 350 students in July as part of a pilot scheme backed by The federal and Australian Capital Territory governments

“International students… are an incredibly important part of our institution”

The pilot has been seen as a first step in resurrecting Australia’s billion-dollar international education sector.

“The plan will see 350 international students landing in the first flight in Canberra in the middle of July ahead of the second semester,” vice-chancellor of The University of Canberra, Paddy Nixon told the outlet.

“They will be subjected to mandatory quarantine at hotels in Canberra which will be partly paid for by us and the ACT government,” added Nixon.

Earlier this month The PIE reported that Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand has been considering the use of chartered flights to bring students safely into the country.

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14 Responses to Universities consider charter flights for international students

  1. Not out of altruism. They will probably bill it to these students later. It’s being done to keep themselves financially viable and relevant. Lets not forget, education is an industry. It has numbers to keep.

  2. European Union should agreed upon to previlage foreign students academic papers legalization and VISA processing during COVID 19 period, to ensure their joining at Universities prior ending deadline.

    • This is a nice gesture by the universities out of UK, Australia,Canada.Message that they are sending to the student community is that they care.
      One good thing about these countries and universities is they are flexible. They are our friends.
      I have similar situations before with universities in USA which overpromised and underdelivered.They promised better job,faster path to greencard.ettc and bilked around USD 40000 in one year and not to mention the loss of.USD 350k.condo in USA.
      And when the university in USA did not extend scholarship,loan for next year,I had to.come back with the loss of almost USD.400k permit afterwards.
      Compare what is on offer at UK, Australia, Canada universities,they are much better for Indian students and our friends

  3. I am not sure if parents would be ready to send their kids, given they were kicked out from the universities dorms…we had seen many Indian students were queening for for free food and sleeping on streets.

    I wonder if universities do similar to send them back in case if the pandemic worsens again. Point to ponder…

  4. Hi
    I want to know about the age of studants
    I mean , i am 44 years old and I am from Brazil
    What can I do for that?

  5. Students stranded at Eastern Mediterranean University Northern Cyprus Turkey, what is the latest arrangement ito going to their countries for before the Second Cemester, South Africa OR Tambo

    • Germany also appears to be friendly to students.They were mentioning about providing Euro 10 grand for those students ran out of funds

  6. Is there any update on University of Leeds, pls check and let us know guys!!?
    What about the East coast, whether they would be remitting students in for the autumn, a dilemma is set and a clarification is needed 😀

    Thanks in Advance!!

  7. Bonjour, je suis Andresse-Ursulah et je réside au Gabon. Je suis intéressée par l’offre d’étude en Angleterre pour mon cursus Master en Droit.

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