India’s massive repatriation drive, Vande Bharat Mission has officially rolled out today. In total over 14,800 stranded Indians will be brought back home from 12 countries this week.
Air India and its low-cost subsidiary Air India Express will operate around 64 flights in seven days, under this programme. Strictly adhering to the safety protocols, the national carrier has conducted Covid-19 tests for its pilots and crews and is following standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued on Tuesday by the Indian government.
Today’s schedule involves repatriation operations on routes including Abu Dhabi-Kochi, Dubai-Kozhikode, London-Mumbai, Singapore-Mumbai, Manila-Ahmedabad and San Francisco-Mumbai-Hyderabad. A total of 2,300 passengers will be brought back today.
Flight schedule for today:
The maximum number of passengers are from the USA (300 approx.) followed by 250 each from the UK, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines; and 200 each from Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bangladesh.
As per Ministry of Home Affairs’ directive, overseas citizen of India (OCI) cardholders, those with citizenship of a foreign country, or hold a valid visa of more than one year of that country, or have the green card of that country, can travel on the repatriation flight leaving India under the Vande Bharat mission.
On the naval front, the Indian Navy has launched Operation Samudra Setu (Sea Bridge) to repatriate Indian citizens. Indian Naval Ships Jalashwa and Magar are en route to the Maldives to commence repatriation operations from May 8 as part of phase-1.