fbpx
Monday, January 25, 2021

India begins massive evacuation operation

Nearly 190,000 Indian nationals stranded overseas due to COVID-19 travel restrictions will start arriving back home shortly in ‘Vande Bharat Mission’. ROHIT VAID reports

Reading Time: 2 minutes
Air India is all set to operate the  Vande Bharat Mission

India’s national carrier Air India is all set to operate the first ‘special ferry’ flight from New Delhi to Singapore today 7 May in what is being called Vande Bharat Mission, to bring its stranded citizens from abroad back home.
The Delhi-Singapore flight will be the first of 64 ferry services which will be operated by the airline and its subsidiary Air India Express from May 7-13.

India will commence one of the world’s largest air rescue operations Vande Bharat Mission from May 7, when the two airlines will start the first phase of the mission. The two airlines will operate 64 flights in 7 days to bring back 14,800 stranded Indians from 12 countries.

- Advertisement -

Operating at different time slots, the ‘special ferry’ flights will leave New Delhi, Cochin and Kozhikode for Singapore, Abu Dhabi and Dubai respectively. Similarly, Air India Express will operate Cochin-Abu Dhabi-Cochin and Kozhikode-Dubai-Kozhikode services.

As per plans, 10 flights will be operated to the UAE from May 7-13, while seven will be sent to the US, seven to Malaysia and five to Saudi Arabia, amongst others. Overall, more than 190,000 Indian nationals, who will pay a one-way ferry service charge, are expected to be brought back in an airlift operation that might last couple of weeks or even more.

Indian nationals stranded in Australia will have to wait a little longer. As of now, the Indian High Commission in Canberra has asked those waiting to get back home to register their interest by 10 May.

Hotels booked for quarantine

Meanwhile, with the first flight due to arrive in Delhi at 7.00 am on Friday 8 May, the national capital has ramped up efforts to mass quarantine the evacuees. Several thousand hotel rooms have been booked across Delhi to keep them stationed for 14 days.All major hotels in the aero city area including lodges and guest houses are also being kept for quarantine purposes, a source revealed. Hotels in adjoining districts are on stand-by. However, all these facilities will be provided against payment by the concerned evacuees. All evacuees will have to spend a mandatory 14 days in quarantine facilities and will undergo medical tests.

The role of Air India

Passengers availing these evacuation flights will be charged for the one-way ferry service, as the national carrier is already in a financial turmoil. Lately, despite its precarious financial position, the flag carrier has emerged as one of the few airlines in the world that have evacuated more than 9,000 passengers during the Covid-19 crisis.
The airline to date has carried out massive flight operations to China, Japan and Europe to bring back stranded Indians, mostly students and pilgrims. Additionally, the airline has been instrumental in repatriating foreigners to Israel, UK and Germany.

In comparison, three decades ago, Air India led a group of airlines which included Indian Airlines and Aeroflot as well as IAF to rescue an estimated 111,711 Indians from the Gulf, after Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990. The 59-day operation involved 488 flights and was conducted before the first Gulf war.

This time, the exercise will encompass flights to the US in the west to the Philippines in the east.

READ ALSO: Air India Group to send 64 flights for Indians, passengers to be charged

- Advertisement -

Related Articles

1 COMMENT

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Podcasts

Ep8: Indian links in Indigenous Australian poet Ali Cobby Eckermann’s life

0
To celebrate NAIDOC week 2020 (between 8-15 November) I spoke to Yakunytjatjara poet Ali Cobby Eckermann about her time in India where she taught...

Ep 7: In the case of Sushant Singh Rajput

0
  The torrid and high-octane Sushant Singh Rajput case has been fodder for Indian people and press for the last few months. The actor’s tragic...

Ep 6: The Indian LGBTQ+ community in 2020

0
  It’s been two years since the world’s largest democracy repealed the draconian Section 377 which used to allow discrimination against homosexual people. Only this...

Latest News

lilly singh

WATCH: Lilly Singh as Sima Taparia in “Indian Matchbreaking”

0
  Whether we liked it or not, most of us gave into the Sima Taparia craze during lockdown. Within days, we'd all binged on Netflix's...
karl rock

From New Zealand to New Delhi: Meet YouTube’s Karl Rock

0
  When Karl Rock picks up the phone (with a cheerful ‘Namaste!’ no less), his New Zealand accent is apparent. That is, until he bursts...
Buddhist Kung Fu nuns kicking hard at centuries-old taboos

India’s Buddhist Kung Fu nuns

0
  They are the Buddhist Kung Fu nuns of Drukpa lineage, known globally for trekking across the Himalayas to pick up trash, paddling through mountain...
jhansi strawberries

Strawberries to write a new chapter of development in Jhansi

0
  Jhansi which is well-known as the land of valour is all set to write a new chapter and strawberry cultivation would play a pivotal...

WATCH: Aussies try to guess Indian slang

0
  Many new migrants have had to quickly learn the local lingo upon arriving in Australia, picking up the ie's and the o's as part...