Indian citizens stranded Down Under will breathe a sigh of relief following the government’s announcement they would be operating evacuation flights to bring them back home.
Approximately lakhs of Indians are currently stranded abroad due to the sudden lockdown amid the coronavirus outbreak.
According to news reports, the Indian High Commission in Canberra has said that a total of seven flights have been deployed for the operation, which is set to begin from May 21 and will go on till May 28.
A part of Indian government’s ‘Vande Bharat’ mission, a massive evacuation process that has been initiated to aid the return of Indians stranded abroad, seven Air India flights will ferry Indians from Sydney and Melbourne back home. This is going to be a part of Phase II of the ‘Vande Bharat’ mission.
149 flights in 2nd phase of Mission Vande Bharat will not wait for remaining flights of 1st phase to get over. The two phases will be operational simultaneously & seamlessly. There will be no gap between them.
We remain committed to bring back our stranded & distressed citizens. pic.twitter.com/1nBtktNYkD
— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) May 13, 2020
“In the second phase, Air India and Air India Express will operate 149 flights to countries such as the USA, the UAE, Canada, Saudi Arabia, the UK, Malaysia, Oman, Kazakhstan, Australia, Ukraine, Qatar and Indonesia,” An Air India official said in a recent interview.
The cost of the flight and travel from Australia to India will be borne by the passengers, who have registered with the mission, – similar to the other evacuation flights that have brought back trapped Indians from countries including the US, Doha and the UAE. Since there are limited seats available on the flights, India’s High Commission in Australia has decided to clear the travelling of the ones “with the most compelling cases.”
The costs reportedly range from about INR 15,500 for a flight from West Asian countries to INR 50,000 for a flight from the UK and INR 100,000 for a flight from the US.
“The High Commission will intimate by email the shortlisted passengers for the above flights. If the shortlisted passenger wishes to proceed further, they may immediately contact Air India (Australia),” the High Commission said in a statement released on their social media accounts.