The country’s national carrier – Air India – has been operating special cargo and rescue flights, amid the rise of the Covid-19 pandemic in India.
Air India is conducting three special flights to London from April 8-10 to repatriate Canadians who are stranded in India amid a 21-day lockdown imposed by PM Narendra Modi to curb the coronavirus pandemic.
The Canadian government will arrange flights to take them to Canada after the Air India flights drop them in London.
The national carrier has signed a contract with the Canadian government to repatriate its citizens amid the lockdown that began on March 25.
Along with the Canadian government, Air India has also signed contracts with the governments of Germany, France and Ireland to repatriate their citizens from India via special rescue flights. It has scheduled to operate 18 such rescue flights from March 31, 2020.
India’s national carrier has been lauded for its rescue measures in that last few weeks. It has transported stranded foreigners from countries such as Israel and Germany in India to their respective homelands.
The airline has also operated multiple flights across India to transport essential cargo such has coronavirus testing kits, medicines and food.
In order to fly in vital medical cargo from China to India, a charter cargo Air India flight was also operated from Delhi to Shanghai on April 4.
As per an Air India press release, “Air India is also scheduled to operate some more cargo flights between Delhi and Shanghai until April 9. These flights will bring critical medical equipment to India.”
The Civil Aviation Ministry had launched ‘Lifeline Udan’ flights on March 26 for the transport of medical and essential supplies across the country and beyond.
Along with Air India, the country’s low-cost carriers have also been operating special rescue and cargo flights.
A Tourism Ministry report suggests that over 750 foreign tourists are still stranded in the country and they are in touch with the Ministry through its recently launched portal strandedinindia.com.
Business Traveller India reported on this initiative recently – On March 31, 2020, the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, launched Stranded in India – a web portal that helps reach out to foreign nationals who are stuck in India due to the lockdown.