New phase of Indian repatriation flights started September 1

By Eudore R. Chand

NEW DELHIĀ 1 September 2020: With the Indian government ruling out any imminent resumption of scheduled commercial international flights, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), has reiterated that phase VI of special flights to repatriate Indian citizens from the Gulf and other locations worldwide will commence on 1st September.

“Phase VI of Vande Bharat Mission is scheduled to begin on 1st September. Based on an assessment of demand by our Missions/Posts abroad, flights are being scheduled by Air India Group and private carriers,” said Anurag Srivastava, Spokesperson of MEA.

Vande Bharat Mission is the code name which the Indian government has given for a massive, worldwide airlift of Indian citizens wishing to return home on account of disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Srivastava confirmed that the bubble arrangements with different countries will continue as per schedule in the phase starting on 1st September, said official news agency Wam.

As of 26th August, the last date for which confirmed figures are available, Srivastava said “more than 1.2 million Indians stranded abroad have been repatriated by different modes under the Vande Bharat Mission. Flights have been added for repatriation from Kuwait. In addition, the number of flights from other GCC countries has been further augmented.”

The Minister for Civil Aviation, Hardeep Singh Puri, has said that negotiations on air travel arrangements with 18 more countries are ongoing. “This will benefit stranded Indians and nationals of these countries.”

Meanwhile, Air India today announced its tentative schedule for Vande Bharat Phase VI repatriation flights from Dubai, Bahrain and Jeddah from 1st September till 24th October. Air India Express announced its tentative schedule from Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Muscat, Doha, Bahrain and Kuwait for the entire month of September.

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