Two special Air India planes will, on Wednesday, carry foreign tourists stranded in different parts of the country for mandatory quarantine at an Indian Army facility in Jodhpur as international flight operations remain suspended till March 29, the national carrier has said.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Air India has operated multiple special flights, evacuating Indian nationals stranded in places such as Wuhan in China and Rome in Italy, the two countries most hit by the virus.
"As you know these are testing times with even the aviation sector locked down but we as a national airline have a special role to play in operating charter/rescue flights," a senior official of the airline said in a message to crew members. "We are operating two Airbus flights tomorrow, on March 25 early morning, to Jodhpur taking international passengers for quarantine, return sector will be ferry (empty)," he said.
Hazmat Suits and PPE (personal protective equipment) would be provided to all operating crew, the official said.
The message was for only those crew members of the national carrier who are currently not under quarantine.
According to a source privy to the development, the Indian Army has kept a 500-bed facility in Jodhpur on standby to quarantine the foreign tourists arriving through the two special flights. "We seek volunteers for operating these two special charter Airbus flights tomorrow. Please WhatsApp your name and employee Id If you would like to be a part of this mission," the message noted.