Friday, June 23, 2017

Extra flights to Qatar are only being run to cater to Eid, vacation traffic, says aviation minister

Ashok Gajapathi Raju said the additional flights should not be seen as an ‘evacuation’.
Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju on Thursday said that additional flights to and from Qatar had been arranged to cater to Eid and school vacation traffic. On Twitter, he said the flights should not be seen as an “evacuation as reported at some places”.

This comes a day after Raju had tweeted: “All steps necessary for timely movement of our citizens from Doha will be ensured. I and Sushma Swaraj ji are in touch on this issue”. Earlier this week, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had also taken up the matter of additional flights between India and Doha, weeks after Qatar was diplomatically isolated by several countries including Saudi Arabia.

Out of the 6.5 lakh Indians in Qatar, nearly three lakh are from Kerala. After Qatar was cut off by other Gulf nations – including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates – on June 5, flight operations in and out of Doha have been hampered. Swaraj had earlier said that the diplomatic stand-off of Qatar does not affect India.