Sunday, March 29, 2020

Flight from Calcutta for stranded foreigners

Calcutta: The federal foreign office of Germany has arranged an Air India flight from Calcutta to evacuate its nationals stranded in eastern India because of the cessation of international flights in India to fight the spread the coronavirus.

Citizens of other European Union nations and the UK will be allowed on board as well.

The plane is expected to fly out from Dum Dum airport with more than 150 passengers on Tuesday morning.

“The embassy signed a contract with Air India on Saturday morning in Delhi. This repatriation programme is for short-term visitors who do not have back-up to stay on as well as Indians who hold permits of residency in Germany,” deputy consul general Jurgen Thomas Schrod told Metro.

The flight will stop at Delhi for refuelling before flying onwards to Frankfurt.

There will be about 100 Germans on board, along with citizens of Britain, France, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, Greece and Finland. “Since this is a special flight, flyers will not get a boarding pass but will have to sign a form to pay a fare equivalent to normal economy class ticket rates.”

The flight has a capacity of 238 passengers but will carry only about 150 to ensure social distancing. “We still have a few seats available to fill up,” Schrod said.

The deputy consul general worked a 10-hour shift on Saturday, attending calls on three phones and answering emails, and was back at his table on Sunday at the consulate general with his colleagues. “We are a small consulate but this needs to be done. My colleagues in other European consulates in the city are also working hard to make this a success. We want to ease the burden on society and the government here in the midst of the pandemic.”
29/03/20 Sudeshna Banerjee/Telegraph

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