Repatriation flights, ships bring over 700 Indians back home

Indian nationals stranded in central Asia as well as various European countries due to coronavirus lockdowns are being brought back home under the Vande Bharat Mission. From next week, India will expand its mega mission to evacuate stranded citizens from abroad by including countries like Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Russia, Germany, Spain and Thailand.

On Saturday, two special flights from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) arrived in Chennai. The first special flight to reach Chennai International Airport from Dubai came with 182 Indian nationals, including three children. In the next Air India IX540 – POB 177, at least 177 Indian national landed at the Chennai airport.Indian Navy Ship Jalashwa had set sail from Male to Kochi in Kerala with 698 Indians nationals who were stranded in the Maldives amid the coronavirus-triggered lockdown, senior Navy officials said. This repatriation is part of the Vande Bharat Mission that began on Thursday to bring stranded Indians home from various countries like the UK, UAE, US, Maldives, Bahrain and Singapore.The first evacuation flight of Air India Express to Chennai from Dubai landed at Chennai International Airport with 179 passengers and three infants on Saturday at about 1.10 am. According to an official of Air India Express, the flight IX 612 landed safely with 179 passengers and three infants.

Around 182 Indian nationals arrived at Cochin International Airport on Friday on a special flight from Bahrain’s Manama. As part of repatriation operations, Air India flight IX 474 carrying 152 passengers, 25 children and 5 infants from Bahrain safely landed at the Cochin International Airport on Friday, the second day of the Vande Bharat evacuation mission.

Two flights carrying a total of 335 people from the Gulf countries landed at Kerala’s two airports on Friday night. While an Air India repatriation flight from Riyadh carrying 153 passengers, including 84 pregnant women, 22 children and four infants landed at the Kozhikode airport 8 pm on Friday night, another Air India Express flight from Bahrain with 177 passengers, including 5 infants, reached Kochi airport at 11.32 pm.

Over 400 stranded Indians, including medical students, were brought back home on Friday from Bangladesh and Singapore in two Air India aircraft as part of the government’s mega repatriation mission Vande Bharat.

The first flight from Singapore landed at the Delhi airport around 11.45 am with 234 passengers, senior officials said. Within a couple of hours, the second special flight with 167 students arrived at the Srinagar airport from Dhaka.

The government on Monday had announced phased repatriation from May 7 of its citizens stranded abroad. It said Air India will operate 64 flights till May 13 to bring back around 15,000 Indians stranded abroad due to the coronavirus lockdown.

Through the Vande Bharat Mission, 64 flights and three Navy ships are repatriating nearly 15,000 Indians stranded abroad due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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