MAY 7, 2020
The first evacuation flight carrying stranded Indian citizens from Abu Dhabi landed at the Kochi airport on Thursday night amid the suspension of international travel over the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is the first of 64 planned evacuation flights as India has launched its biggest ever repatriation exercise to bring back its nationals stranded abroad.
The Air India Express flight IX 452 with 177 passengers and four infants landed at the Cochin International Airport at 10.09 pm, an airport official said.
The flight left UAE at 4:15 local time.
Great to see the #VandeBharatMission Abu Dhabi Kochi special flight IX452 taking off from the @AUH
Thanks all for cooperation and support for making it possible.@AmbKapoor @MOS_MEA @MoFAICUAE @MEAIndia @IndianDiplomacy @MoCA_GoI @mohapuae @SEHAHealth @cgidubai @airindiain pic.twitter.com/Y7F3T5Kfh0
— India in UAE (@IndembAbuDhabi) May 7, 2020
India’s ambassador Pavan Kapoor was at the Abu Dhabi airport to oversee the operation and see off the passengers returning home.
Another Air India Express flight IX 344 with 177 passengers and five infants from Dubai is expected to land at the Kozhikode International Airport at 10.45 pm. The flight left Dubai at 5 pm local time.
The evacuated citizens will be sent to the quarantine facilities set up by the administration in their respective districts.
The Centre on Monday announced that it will facilitate the return of Indian nationals stranded abroad due to suspension of international flights amid the lockdown over the coronavirus.
The travel would be arranged by aircraft and naval ships and would begin in a phased manner from May 7, the Ministry of Home Affairs said in a press release.
Air India will operate 64 flights from May 7 to May 13 to bring back around 15,000 Indian nationals stranded abroad amid the COVID-19 lockdown, it was announced in New Delhi on Tuesday.
These 64 flights include 10 from UAE, two from Qatar, five from Saudi Arabia, seven from the United Kingdom, five from Singapore, seven from the United States, five from the Philippines, seven from Bangladesh, two from Bahrain, seven from Malaysia, five from Kuwait and two from Oman.
These flights include 40 by Air India and 24 by Air India Express. 14,800 Indians will be evacuated in the first phase from May 7 to May 13.
Follow the government’s latest guidance on safeguarding yourself during the coronavirus pandemic, including travel advice within and outside the country. The World Health Organization has also busted some myths surrounding coronavirus. The Ministry of Health’s special helpline is available at +91-11-23978046, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.