India will be operating as many as 64 flights over seven days to evacuate thousands stranded abroad, according to a flight plan shared by the Ministry of External Affairs.
As per the 'Flight Plan for Return of Indian Nationals Stranded Abroad', dated 4 May, as many as 14,800 passengers will be brought back over the course of seven days to different cities across the country. Each flight will have approximately 200-300 passengers.
Among the countries from where Indian nationals will be brought back include UAE, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, USA, Singapore, Bangladesh, Qatar, Kuwait, among others.
Most of these flights will be operated by Air India.
3 Naval Ships Sent to Maldives, UAE
Earlier on Tuesday, a defence spokesperson had said India has sent three naval ships to evacuate its citizens stranded in the Maldives and UAE due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
INS Jalashwa, deployed off the coast of Mumbai, along with INS Magar, left for the Maldives on Monday night, while INS Shardul diverted to Dubai, he was quoted by PTI as saying.
All three of them will be coming back to Kochi.
On Monday, the Government of India stated that they will be “facilitating the return of Indian nationals stranded abroad on compelling grounds in a phased manner, the travel for which would be arranged by aircraft and naval ships.”
“The Standard Operating Protocol (SOP) has been prepared in this regard,” the government added.
The government stated that the Indian Embassies and High Commissions were preparing a list of distressed Indian citizens. This facility would be made available on payment basis.
“Non-scheduled commercial flights would be arranged for air travel. The travel would begin in a phased manner from 7 May,” the government had added.
What Is the Flight Plan?
- According to the evacuation plan, the first day will see 10 flights to bring back 2,300 Indians. Flights from Abu Dhabi to Kochi, from Dubai to Kozhikode, from London to Mumbai are some of the flights that will be operated on day 1.
- From Dubai to Chennai, Manama to Kochi and Kuala Lumpur to Mumbai are some of the flights scheduled for day 2. Around 2,050 Indians will be brought back on day 2.
- The next day, a similar number is expected to arrive in Mumbai, Kochi, Lucknow and Delhi from 13 countries spread across the Middle East, Europe, South East Asia and USA.
- Around 1,850 Indians will be flown from Doha to Trivandrum, Singapore, Washington and Abu Dhabi on day 4.
- Day 5 will will see flights from Dammam to Kochi, Singapore to Delhi, London to Ahmedabad, amounting to the evacuation of around 2,200 Indians.
- The next day, around 2,500 Indians will arrive in Kochi, Delhi, Hyderabad, Bengaluru from Malaysia, UK, UAE and Singapore.
- On the last day of the flight plan, day 7, around 1,850 Indians will be flown in from Kuwait, Philippines, Bangladesh, USA to Kozhikode, Chennai, Delhi-Hyderabad.
Cost of the Flights
Talking about the charges, the government stated that the passengers will be charged on repatriation flights. “Rs 50,000 per passenger for London-Delhi flight, Rs 12,000 for Dhaka-Delhi flight,” said the government.
“The rates fixed for the journey will be Rs 50,000 for London-Mumbai, similarly for London to Ahmedabad, London to Bengaluru and London to Delhi. For Chicago-Delhi-Hyderabad the rough cost will be about Rs 1 lakh,” said Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri.
He also added that private airlines may join after the evacuation effort is complete.
SOPs for Indians Stranded Abroad
Here are some other key points:
- Medical screening of passengers would be done before taking the flight. Only asymptomatic passengers would be allowed to travel.
- During the journey, all these passengers would have to follow the protocols, such as the Health Protocols, issued by the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
- On reaching the destination, everyone would have to register on the Aarogya Setu app. Everyone would be medically screened.
- After scrutiny, they would be quarantined for 14 days, either in a hospital or in an institutional quarantine on payment-basis, by the concerned state government.
- COVID test would be done after 14 days and further action would be taken according to health protocols.
- State governments are being advised to make arrangements, including for testing, quarantine, and onward movement of the returning Indians in their respective states.
(With inputs from PTI).