Air India has put out the list of repatriation flights that it will operate as Vande Bharat Mission enters its 6th phase on September 1. Till October 1, the national carrier is expected to operate 31 flights from India and 31 to the country. Destinations for the same include countries like Canada and China. The airline will also operate repatriation 50 flights under the recently-established air bubbles till October 23 to destinations including London, Frankfurt, US and Maldives.
About 10.5 lakh Indians have returned from abroad after the government launched the "Vande Bharat" evacuation mission on May 7 in view of the coronavirus pandemic, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Friday. MEA Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said the phase five of the Vande Bharat Mission was presently underway and under this from August 1-12, 300 international flights and 70 domestic feeders have been operated reaching 22 airports across India.
Around 500 international flights are scheduled to be operated this month, he said. "Earlier this week on August 11, we crossed the one million-mark under the Vande Bharat Mission. As of date, a total of about 10.5 lakh stranded Indians have returned through various modes under this mission," Srivastava said at an online media briefing.
Based on a continuous assessment of demand received from Indian missions and posts, flights have been added for repatriation from Armenia, Bangladesh, Japan, Israel, New Zealand, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Ukraine, he said. The number of flights from the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and the South East Asia have been further augmented, he said.
"In addition to the bilateral 'travel bubble' arrangement with the US, Germany and France, which are operational, the arrangement with the UK is scheduled to start from September 1," Srivastava said. "Similar arrangements with others, including our neighbouring countries, are expected soon. Yesterday, we announced a travel bubble arrangement with the Maldives," he said.
After the unfortunate accident of the flight from Dubai to Kozhikode on August 7, the MEA had set up a 24x7 control room with helplines to provide information and assistance to the affected, he said. This control room was operational until August 10, the official informed.
On August 8, the Ministry of Civil Aviation launched an online portal called 'Air Suvidha', which enables incoming passengers to apply online for exemption from institutional quarantine, he said. This would apply to those passengers who are eligible for such exemption as per the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Srivastava said.(With inputs from PTI)