70 flights planned to operate to bring back Indians home

Published On June 9, 2020 | By kritika bhau | News
Kritika Bhau

Air India plans to operate around 70 flights in its latest round of the Vande Bharat Mission to bring home Indians stranded in the U.S. or Canada between June 11 and the end of the month. 

A lockdown imposed by the many nations because of COVID-19 included a complete ban on domestic and international flights and the closing of borders.

Thousands of people were stuck in foreign countries with no immediate hope of coming back home. That is why Hardeep Singh Puri, the Union Minister for Civil Aviation, launched a program called Vande Bharat Abhiyaan to help stranded citizens return home.

An airport staff member pushes trollies at the entrance of Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, after the government allowed domestic flight services to resume, during an extended nationwide lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Mumbai, India, May 25, 2020. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas

Vande Bharat Abhiyaan is an initiative from the Indian Government to help bring Indians back home who may be stuck in various countries because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the mission, Indian citizens stranded overseas will be brought back home and non-residents of the country who are struck will be sent to their countries. 

Air India and Air India Express operated 64 flights in the first phase of Vande Bharat Abhiyaan where 12,708 people returned home from 12 different countries between May 7 to May 14.

In phase two, a total of 311 flights were operated and more than 40,000 Indians returned back home between 17 May to 30 May.

Guidelines of the mission were moulded in phase two. Anyone holding a year-long visa of the destination could fly out through these special flights.

However, despite the numerous flights many people remained stranded as these were not enough flights to accommodate everyone stranded in India to their homes or to bring Indians home.

“More flights being added to mission Vande Bharat to enable stranded and distressed Indians to return home. Air India will operate 70 flights to destinations in USA and Canada under Phase 3 of the mission from 11-30 June 2020,” Puri tweeted.

“I got my permanent residency approved by Canada this year. I was planning to move to Canada in March and soon after getting my approval I resigned from my job in March, so did my wife,” said Prabhjot Singh, who lives in Punjab, India.

“I have two kids and was holding tickets of March 29th to fly to Vancouver for a new start. Due to lockdown, I am stuck with no income from the last three months hoping for flights to restart,” he said.

Data pertaining to phase two of Vande Bharat Abhiyaan created June 2. Link to data can be found here: https://www.civilaviation.gov.in/

The third phase begins on June 11, with more flights promised.

Also, the restriction on internal movement was lifted, allowing people to fly domestically.

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