Aditya Thackeray writes to Aviation Ministry, seeking more Vande Bharat routes

Forum Gandhi Mumbai | Updated on June 30, 2020

Aditya Thackeray   -  THE HINDU

Maharashtra Cabinet Minister Aditya Thackeray has written a letter to the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA), requesting it to add more routes and sectors to the repatriation flights as several Indian nationals are still stranded abroad.

He has also pointed to the high airfares that customers have had to pay for these flights.

“We need to have more sectors added for repatriation and minor details that need to be looked into by the Ministry to assist people stuck abroad,” he added.

So far, three phases of Vande Bharat Mission (VBM) have been implemented.

Thackeray said he had requested flights for the sectors of Middle East, Australia and Russia, along with others.

“Although some flights were organised, we need many more for the same,” he said, adding that the VBM-4 schedule has been handed over to the State. “There is not a single flight from the Middle East to Maharashtra, despite repeated requests from the State and the people stuck in the Middle East,” he said.

The 21 flights of VBM-4 from seven cities across six countries are hopping flights, which means not many passengers would be from Maharashtra. "We would like you to address this issue and injustice meted out to Maharashtra. Every State should have its people repatriated, but it should be in equal measure and in a fair way," he said in the letter, reviewed by BusinessLine.

He further called out the fact that the passengers have had to pay an exorbitant amount. “It is a constant feedback from passengers flying in about unaffordable air fares for repatriation and more so because of the in-flight facilities provided against it — the food quality, delays, absence of food services at stopovers. This causes more stress to the ones being repatriated from various countries after a stressful extended stay abroad.”

He said minor interventions from MoCA would ensure that the repatriation is not just remembered as historic but also one that truly served the people well in times of need.

Published on June 30, 2020

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