Rs 12,000 to Rs 1 lakh: How much money will the Indians have to pay to fly back home

NEW DELHI: Flying back from the US USA And the UK to India will cost Rs 1 lakh and Rs 50,000, respectively, on special flights operated by Air India for Indians stranded abroad, starting May 7.

The fare for Singapore-Delhi/Mumbai will be Rs 20,000 and Singapore-Bengaluru will be Rs 18,000. Aviation Minister H S Puri said on Tuesday that the established fares are lower than the cost of operating these special flights, which could be flying only partially full or empty to bring back the stranded Indians abroad.

Puri also said that there are Indians working abroad or holding green cards and stranded in India due to the temporary suspension of commercial flights. They can also choose to fly on these flights. People like them who are willing to pay can fly on these flights, he said.

India will begin the flights to bring back the stranded Indians abroad starting Thursday. “In the first week (May 7-13), Air India will operate 64 flights to 12 countries where we hope to bring some 15,000 Indians back home. Already around 2 lakh Indians abroad have registered to return to the country. We do not know what the final number of Indians will be. It could be 4 lakh. We will gradually increase flights based on the experience of the first week of operations. States must be prepared (with quarantine facilities) and accordingly we will plan for the following weeks. In the first week, all flights will be operated by Air India and then private airlines can also help bring the stranded Indians back, ”said the aviation minister.

The 12 countries where flights will operate during the first week are: 6 in the Gulf: United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman. Six others: United States, United Kingdom, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore.

In the United States, special flights will go to San Francisco, New York (Newark or EWR), Chicago and Washington. They will bring stranded Indians in these places to Kerala, Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Srinagar, Trichy, Amritsar and Lucknow.

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“In the first week, the maximum number of Indians, 3,150, is expected to return on 15 flights to Kerala from seven countries. About 2,150 will then return to Tamil Nadu (Chennai and Trichy) on 11 flights from nine countries. Around 1,900 will return to Mumbai on seven flights from six countries, he said.

Delhi's figures will take some time to finalize as authorities await news of available quarantine facilities. All Indians returning on these flights must spend 14 days in the hospital or designated quarantine areas against payment.

We will continue to increase the number of countries in which we operate flights to bring back Indians and the Indian cities we fly back to in the following weeks, depending on demand from those who register to do so, the ministry 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.

The most vulnerable categories are being prioritized, such as pregnant women, the elderly, people facing medical emergencies or bereaving or terminally/seriously ill in their immediate families in India and stranded tourists.

The medical evaluation of the passengers would be carried out before taking the flight. Only asymptomatic passengers could travel. During the trip, all passengers would have to follow the protocols. Upon arrival in India, everyone will have to register in the Aarogya Setu app and be placed in mandatory quarantine for 14 days, either in a hospital or in an institutional quarantine for payment, by the concerned state government. The crown test will be performed 14 days later and subsequent measures will be taken according to health protocols.