Air India is planning to operate up to nine charter flights from various India cities such as Delhi and Mumbai and then on to Frankfurt in the coming days. These charter operations could begin on Monday.

During the current Covid-19 crisis, while Air India has operated several relief flights to get Indians stranded abroad back, this will be the first time that the national carrier will pick up foreign citizens from around India and take them to Germany.

Plans include getting mostly German nationals stranded in various Indian cities including Hyderabad, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Chennai and Thiruvanthapuram into Delhi and Mumbai before transferring them on to the wider Boeing 777 and B 787 which will depart for Frankfurt. Air India will make use of its varied fleet size to do these operations. The plan, which is in the final stages, will see Air India operate the smaller Airbus A-320 aircraft to various cities to evacuate the foreign nationals to Delhi and Mumbai from where the bigger aircraft in the national carrier’s fleet will be used to fly the Germans back home. There is also a possibility of a government from across the Atlantic chartering Air India aircraft to get its citizens home through London in this week.

Sources do not rule out Air India operating more charter flights to ferry out foreign nationals. The airline could also possibly evacuate foreign nationals of a friendly country to India from a third country other than India or the country which is seeking to get its citizens back home.

The latest flights are in a series of evacuation flights that Air India is operating, including the recent one to Tel Aviv from Delhi to take Israeli nationals back home and the Boeing 777 sent to Rome to bring Indian citizens back.