Major airlines in the UAE are offerinng charter flights on behalf of companies and community groups to repatriate Indians who have been stranded in the Gulf country due to corona virus pandemic travel restrictions.
Several companies and community groups have chartered repatriation flights with the UAE airlines, with some of them operating the first international flights to some destinations in India, the Gulf News reported.
However, the pace of the repatriation mission, dubbed to be the largest in the history, gathered more steam after the Indian government allowed private airlines in the UAE and India to operate charter flights on behalf of companies and community groups.
India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Monday granted permission to around 870 chartered flights, transporting around 200,000 passengers, both inbound and outbound.
- “Several Airlines helped in the humanitarian mission of taking stranded people to their destinations,” DGCA tweeted.
As per the DGCA data, a total of 68 flights have been operated by FlyDubai (38), Air Arabia (20), Emirates (five) and Etihad (five).
A few charter services for repatriation operated by UAE airlines created history in different ways, the daily reported.
- A FlyDubai charter flight with employees of the Al Madina Group to the Kannur International Airport in Kerala was especially welcomed with a water cannon salute on Saturday.
- The airport arranged the water salute as it was the first among the foreign airlines and the first UAE carrier to land in the airport that became operational last December, said Afi Ahmed, owner of Dubai-based Smart Travel which facilitated the chartering of the flight.
- An Air Arabia charter flight that returned 215 Odia to Bhubaneswar in Odisha on Sunday made headlines for two reasons.
The flight, chartered by the United Arab Emirates Odia Society, was the first international charter flight to be returned for landing at the airport and was flown by a United Arab Emirates-based Odia pilot, Captain Madhusmita Patnaik, the daily said.
FlyDubai had also offered charter service to repatriate Indian prisoners who were released after their prison terms in Dubai and Abu Dhabi prisons during the coronavirus pandemic.