Stranded Indians evacuated from abroad as part of the government’s Vande Bharat Mission amid suspension of air travel due to Covid-19 pandemic included those from 20 destinations, which probably have never had any Indian airline operate flights to, an Air India spokesperson said on Sunday.
“We had to pay the ground handling charges in these new stations,” Air India spokesperson added.
The destinations included;
- Yerevan (Armenia)
- Minsk (Belarus)
- Tbilisi (Georgia)
- Karaganda (Kazakhstan)
- Nur-Sultan (Kazakhstan)
- Lagos (Nigeria)
- Cebu (Philippines)
- Dushanbe (Tajikistan) and
- Kyiv (Ukraine)
The spokesperson said 60,000 Indians are expected to return in phase three.
“While loads on the flights from the USA and Europe are good, there is practically no load on any outward flights. …over 71,000 Indians have been evacuated from abroad while only about 19,000 have flown abroad.”
Recently, the Union Civil Aviation Ministry has stepped up the third phase of the Vande Bharat Mission by adding 10 more Air India flights due to rising demand for tickets to the United States and the United Kingdom.
The Govt. of India has started Vande Bharat Mission on May 6 2020 to bring stranded Indians to home amid the coronavirus lockdown.
Under the Vande Bharat Mission, Air India and its subsidiary Air India Express began operating international flights from May 7 onwards to repatriate stranded Indians from abroad. The first phase was from May 7 to 16, after which the second phase began.
A total of 3,99,081 persons registered requests with Indian missions for repatriation to India on compelling grounds and more than 1.65 lakhs people have returned from different countries ever since the mission started.
“Vande Bharat is proving to be a mission of hope for stranded & distressed Indians around the world.” said Indian Civil Aviation Minister, Puri.
(With Input From Hindustan Times)