58 more flights added to evacuate Indians from Gulf countries, says Aviation Minister
Indian civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Wednesday said that under Vande Bharat Mission, 58 more flights have been added to evacuate stranded Indians from Gulf countries between now and 30th June.
“58 more flights added to evacuate stranded & distressed Indian citizens from Gulf countries between now & 30th June 2020. Starting immediately, the number of flights from Gulf under phase-3 of Vande Bharat Mission now increased from originally planned 107 to 165,” Puri said in a Twitter post.
Earlier, Puri had informed that India has so far brought back nearly 70,000 people under the Vande Bharat Mission.
As part of the ‘Vande Bharat Mission’ 193 Indians also came back home to Kolkata from New York on Wednesday by a special evacuation flight of Air India.
The third phase of the Vande Bharat Mission started on June 10 and will last till July 1. The schedule has 356 flights, which include the return services and domestic connections. The second phase had about 180 flights and the first, which ran between May 7 and 15, had 64 flights.
The first phase brought back about 15,000 Indians home, while the second phase carried nearly 30,000 citizens till May 29. The mission, said to be the largest repatriation exercise in the world, intends to bring back over two lakh Indians stranded across the world since the Covid-19 induced lockdown was announced in March.
The government had suspended domestic and international flights as part of the lockdown. Air India announced that bookings for the third phase began on June 5.