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New Delhi, May 5, 2020
National carrier Air India will operate 64 flights to 12 countries in seven days from May 7 to bring back about 14,000 Indians stranded there because of the lockdown in India and other parts of the world imposed to contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The flights include 10 to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), five to Saudi Arabia, five to Kuwait, two to Qatar, two to Bahrain, two to Oman, seven to the United Kingdom, five to Singapore, seven to Malaysia, seven to the United States, seven to Bangladesh and five to the Philippines.
The flights by Air India and its subsidiary Air India Express will be part of one of the alrgest ever repatriation efforts in the world in which India will use, apart from commercial airlines, aircraft of the Indian Air Force and ships of the Indian Navy to bring back tens of thousands of Indians stranded in different parts of the world because of the pandemic.
Apart from the airlines and the IAF and the Navy, airport staff and state governments will have a major role to play in the entire effort.
Among other things, the returning passengers will have to be medically screened on arrival and then sent to the appropriate quarantine facilities before they can resume normal lives in India.
In the first seven days of the operation, the flights will bring back about 14,800 people to ten states. Flights to more states could be planned once facilities to receive and quarantine the returning passengers are in place.
The flights are being organised on a payment-basis and all the passengers will have to pay the prescribed amount to Air India.
On Day 1, 10 flights will operate from Abu Dhabi to Kochi, Dubai to Kozhikode, Riyadh to Kozhikode, Doha to Kochi, London to Mumbai, Singapore to Mumbai, Kuala Lumpur to Delhi, San Francisco to Mumbai-Hyderabad, Manila to Ahmedabad and Dhaka to Srinagar.
On Day 2, there will be nine flights from Manama to Kochi, Dubai to Chennai (two flights), Kuala Lumpur to Mumbai, New York to Mumbai-Ahmedabad, Dhaka to Delhi, Kuwait to Hyderabad, Singapore to Ahmedabad and London to Bengaluru.
Day 3 will see nine flights from Kuwait to Kochi, Muscat to Kochi, Riyadh to Delhi, Kuala Lumpur to Tiruchirapalli, Chicago to Mumbai-Chennai, Dhaka to Muumbai, Manila to Mumbai, London to Hyderabad, and Sharjah to Lucknow.
On Day 4, there will be eight flights from Doha to Trivandrum, Kuala Lumpur to Kochi, Kuwait to Chennai, Singapore to Tiruchirapalli, London to Mumbai, Dhaka to Delhi, Abu Dhabi to Hyderabad and Washington to Delhi-Hyderabad.
Nine flights are scheduled on Day 5 from Dammam to Kochi, Manama to Kozhikode, Kuala Lumpur to Chennai, Singapore to Delhi, Manila to Delhi, London to Ahmedabad, Dubai to Kochi, Dhaka to Srinagar and San Francisco to Delhi-Bengaluru.
There will be 11 flights on Day 6 from Kuala Lumpur to Kochi, Muscat to Chennai, London to Chennai, Jeddah to Delhi, Kuwait to Ahmedabad, Dubai to Delhi (two flights), Manila to Hyderabad, Dhaka to Srinagar, Singapore to Bengaluru and New York to Delhi-Hyderabad.
Eight flights are slated for Day 7 from Kuwait to Kozhikode, Manila to Chennai, Dhaka to Chennai, London to Delhi, Chicago to Delhi/Hydeabad, Jeddah to Kochi, Kuala Lumpur to Hyderabad and Dubai to Amritsar.