Evacuation of Indians stranded abroad faces slight delay

Ashwini Phadnis New Delhi | Updated on May 05, 2020

Corona negative certificate for crew likely to delay first flight by a day

There will be a slight delay in operating the evacuation flights to bring back Indians stranded abroad due to the coronavirus. The flights will probably start on May 8 night, instead of on May 7.

This is due to the fact that some countries are insisting on Corona negative certificates for the crew, both operating the flights and those who are on the flights. This message was conveyed late in the evening to the top brass of Air India, which is to operate all the 64 flights to bring back 14,800 Indians stranded abroad in the first phase of the evacuation process.

If the process is started early on Wednesday morning and the crew tests negative after two days, then the first flight will be able to leave on May 8 night, sources indicated.

Air India now plans to get at least 3,000-odd crew to undergo the corona tests.

Also read: AI to operate 64 evacuation flights to bring back 14,800 Indians


Earlier in the afternoon, addressing the media, Hardeep Puri, Minister for Civil Aviation said during the first week of evacuation, which would last till around May 13, 15 flights from seven countries, carrying around 3,150 passengers will arrive in Kerala, 11 flights from nine countries carrying 2,150 passengers will land in Tamil Nadu, while seven flights from six countries will land in Telangana, carrying around 1750 passengers. Three flights from three countries will land in Karnataka, carrying 650 passengers. One flight from one country will land in Punjab and three flights from one country will also land in Jammu and Kashmir.

“These are not commercial flights. They are being operated to bring back Indians who are in distress --- people whose visas might have run out or who are being deported,” the Minister said in a video conference to announce the evacuation efforts. The Minister indicated that this was the first such attempt  being made to bring back Indians and when other such evacuation flights are mounted, the private sector could also be roped in. 

Those travelling on AI flights will be charged anything ranging from ₹100,000 for those coming from the US, while a passenger travelling from London to Mumbai are likely to be charged ₹ 50,000, and about ₹18,000 for those booked to travel from Singapore to Bengaluru. Those travelling from Dhaka to Delhi will be charged about ₹12,000.

Published on May 05, 2020

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