64 Air India flights to bring back stranded Indians, those who return will have to download Aarogya Setu app

Air India will operate 64 flights from May 7 to May 13 to bring back around 15,000 Indian nationals stranded abroad amid the COVID-19-induced lockdown, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said

Air India flights
Air India flights
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PTI

Air India will operate 64 flights from May 7 to May 13 to bring back around 15,000 Indian nationals stranded abroad amid the COVID-19-induced lockdown, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Tuesday.

The minister, while addressing a virtual press conference, said private Indian airlines may join the repatriation effort after May 13.

Those availing the repatriation flights will be charged, Puri said.

A passenger on a London-Delhi flight will be charged Rs 50,000 and on a Dhaka-Delhi flight Rs 12,000, the aviation minister said.

On arrival from abroad, all passengers will be screened and put under quarantine for a period of 14 days as a COVID-19 precautionary measure, Puri said.

These 64 flights would be conducted by Air India and its subsidiary Air India Express to repatriate Indians from 12 countries such as the UAE, the UK, the US, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman.

India will conduct 10 flights to the UAE, seven flights each to the US and the UK, five flights to Saudi Arabia, five flights to Singapore and two flights to Qatar to repatriate Indian nationals between May 7 and May 13, the minister said.

During this time period, India will also conduct seven flights each to Malaysia and Bangladesh, five flights each to Kuwait and Philippines, two flights each to Oman and Bahrain, Puri said.

India has been under lockdown since March 25 to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. All commercial passenger flights have been suspended for this period.

The first and second phase of lockdown in India was from March 25 to April 14 and April 15 to May 3, respectively. The third phase began from May 4 and would end on May 17.

Whenever the government resumes commercial passenger flights, it would be done in a graded manner, Puri said.

The novel coronavirus has infected more than 46,400 people and killed around 1,560 people in India till now.

Meanwhile, a Home Ministry official said on Tuesday that the stranded Indians who will be brought back by special flights from abroad will have to download 'Aarogya Setu' mobile app and detailed procedures for this entire operation will be issued.

Punya Salila Srivastava, a joint secretary in the Union Home Ministry, said the Indian Railways has run 62 special trains for stranded domestic workers till now that carried an estimated 70,000 people.

Thirteen more such trains are expected to run on Tuesday, she told reporters.

Srivastava added that the passengers who land in the country on board the special flights will have to follow all the government-issued health guidelines, and they will be screened and kept at paid quarantine facilities for 14 days.

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