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. One-way fare from the Gulf countries such as Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Doha to Kochi, Kerala range from Rs 15,000 to Rs 16,000. A ticket for flights from the United States to India has been priced at Rs 1,00,000, hindustantimes.com reported.
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.
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Pursuant to MHA announcement in which Civil Aviation is one of the modes to be deployed for evacuation of distressed stranded Indian citizens abroad & of those who are normally living abroad but want to return, @MoCA_GoI has drawn up a flight plan to facilitate the process.— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) May 5, 2020
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.
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.