Indians back from UAE Photograph:( AFP )
Air India has started its evacuation flights for Indians stranded abroad.
Air India's first repatriation flight took off from Kochi for Abu Dhabi on Thursday afternoon. The flight will be bringing back Indian nationals to the country soon.
Air India Express IX419 is being used for the biggest repatriation operation of the Indian government to bring back the Indian nationals stranded in the Gulf countries due to the coronavirus pandemic.
1st flight with 175 stranded Indians from abroad will land in Kochi from Abu Dhabi at around 2140 hrs. The second flight will also be to Kerala, having 175 stranded Indians.— Sidhant Sibal (@sidhant) May 7, 2020
Location of pic: India's operation room, Dubai#COVID https://t.co/jbaDRQ31de pic.twitter.com/ARJTc71i3u
The first flight will land in Kerala around 9:40pm. The Kochi flight is bringing back 175 Indian nationals from Abu Dhabi. The second flight will also bring 175 stranded Indians from Dubai to Kozhikode, and will land around 10:30pm.
Air India will continue the rescue operation for Indians stranded in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Kuwait, Muscat, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Malaysia, Philippines, UAE, Bangladesh, the US and the UK.
However, the focus remains on the Gulf countries, where around 3 lakh people are stranded, according to reports.
Around 14,600 citizens are expected to be brought back to the country in 64 flights within the first week of the operation.
Around 60 pilots and 120 cabin crew members are providing their services in the operation. All the staff members and the workers have been asked to practice precaution and wear PPE suits during the flight.
Before take-off, passengers will be provided with two face masks, one 100ml sanitiser bottle, a snack box and a bottle of water at their respective seats.
(With inputs from ANI)