SpiceJet said it operated a repatriation flight with 160 Indians onboard from Cebu in the Philippines to Chennai on Thursday under the Vande Bharat Mission. In a press release, the airline said it will also arrange complimentary air travel on Saturday for three Philippines nationals requiring liver treatment in Hyderabad.
Shambhu S. Kumaran, Ambassador of India to the Republic of Philippines, said, "Delighted that SpiceJet is operating a flight from Cebu to Chennai today followed by a flight from Cebu to Hyderabad and Ahmedabad on 12 September". I also wish to record my sincere appreciation to SpiceJet for carrying a liver transplant child, donor and family free of charge at the request of the Embassy on humanitarian grounds," Kumaran stated.
Scheduled international flights have been suspended in India since March 23 due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, special international passenger flights have been operating in India under the Vande Bharat Mission since May and under bilateral air bubble arrangements formed with other countries since July.
Two weeks back, the airline operated its first-ever long-haul cargo flight from Delhi to Frankfurt using wide-body Airbus A340 aircraft. Accordingly, SpiceJet's A340 carried 45 tonnes of cargo supplies from New Delhi to Germany.
Since March 25, SpiceJet has operated over 6,061 cargo flights and transported over 33,297 tonnes of cargo - this is more than double of all domestic airlines combined together - carrying medicines and medical equipment and fruits and vegetables to all corners of India and the world. At present, SpiceJet's international cargo network now spans over 43 international destinations.
(With inputs from PTI)