15,000 Indians expected on 64 flights in first week of repatriation

NEW DELHI: About 15,000 could fly home from around the world, with a large portion of them coming from the Gulf, in the first week of repatriation starting Thursday. The number will be much higher since the Indians will also be brought back to the warships.

In the first week of the largest homecoming exercise by any country for its citizens, India plans to operate 64 flights from places like the UAE, Qatar , Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Singapore , Malaysia, the United Kingdom, the United States, the Philippines and Bangladesh to Kerala (15 flights); Delhi and Tamil Nadu (11 each); Maharashtra and Telangana (7 each); Gujarat (5); Karnataka and J&k(3each)andupandpunjab(oneeach).ofthe64flightsplannedfrommay7to14,26willbefromthegulfregion; 17 from Southeast Asia, and seven each from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Bangladesh. About 14,800 Indians are expected to return on these flights.

Indians returning to India will be required to pay airfare and bear the cost of quarantine at designated locations for 14 days upon return. The High Commission of India in London has on its website a self-declaration form that individuals will need to complete to give their consent.

From the United States, Air India will operate its Boeing 777s from San Francisco, New York, Chicago and Washington. With nearly 200 passengers on each flight, wide-body aircraft will need to be put into service. Air India has a fleet of widebody Boeings: 787, 777 and 747. Vistara got its first B787 Dreamliner this March, which does not yet operate passenger flights. That plane is being used to transport cargoes of essential supplies during the shutdown within India. No other Indian carrier has double-aisle planes.

“From now on weekly plans are being made. All traveling must be quarantined for 14 days in the hospital or at a designated center. Therefore, depending on the availability of quarantine facilities that states need to create, more plans will be made, the sources said.

Large numbers of Indians are stranded worldwide. India stopped scheduling international passenger flights on March 22 and asked its citizens to stay where they are until the necessary arrangements are made to bring them back.

Priority is being given to the most vulnerable categories, such as pregnant women and the very elderly, people facing medical emergencies, people who are grieving or terminally/seriously ill in their immediate families in India, stranded tourists, etc. ... The flights would be available as payment. Air India will contact you directly regarding ticket booking and payment, ”says the High Commission of India in London on its website.

“The medical evaluation of the passengers would be carried out before taking the flight. Only asymptomatic passengers could travel. During the journey, all passengers would have to follow the protocols, including those issued by the ministries of health and civil aviation. Air India would be providing gloves and masks. Upon arrival in India, everyone would be medically examined; everyone would have to register in the Aarogya Setu app. Everyone would be in mandatory quarantine for 14 days, either in a hospital or in institutional quarantine for payment, by the state government in question. The COVID test would be performed after 14 days and additional measures would be taken according to health protocols. A commitment should be made to comply with protocols framed by the Government of India and the State Government in this regard before boarding the plane, ”says the High Commission of India in London.

The Indian mission in Dubai said in a statement Monday that almost 2 lakh Indians have registered to fly back to the country. “We seek patience and cooperation from everyone as the government of India undertakes this massive task of repatriation of Indian citizens… it will take time for all to be accommodated on these flights,” the Indian mission in Dubai’s statement said.

Self-declaration form to be completed by Indians returning home: