Monday, May 11, 2020

Air India flights from UAE to Hyderabad, Kochi take off

Dubai: The Air India repatriation flight from Abu Dhabi took off with 170 passengers to the Indian city of Hyderabad on Monday evening. The flight to Kochi from Dubai's Terminal 2 took off at 3.40pm.

Two passengers at Abu Dhabi airport failed to clear the Covid-19 IGM/IGG rapid test and one had issues with immigration clearance. Under the Vande Bharat Mission, this was the first flight from the UAE Capital to the Telangana state.

Unlike the delay caused on Thursday, the opening day of repatriation flight to Kochi, the entire process, including medical screening, was streamlined and the plane took off for Hyderabad on time from Abu Dhabi International Airport.

As many as 177 passengers flew to Kochi from Dubai on Monday, the Consul General of India to Dubai, Vipul, confirmed. These include 30 pregnant women, senior citizens, a few medical cases, and workers.

"Many people have come to the airport in the hope that there will be no-shows. We understand their situation, as it is not easy for medical cases and women in advanced pregnancies. However, what I have assured is that they will be on the top of the priority list in the coming flights," he said.

Commenting on the issue of selecting people to travel to India, Vipul said, "We should hopefully get more flights in the next week. We are very careful in contacting people and taking people who have a compelling reason to return home." He has requested patience from stranded Indian citizens, and confirmed there will be more flights in the coming week.

"You must understand that the Kerala community is very large here, and, therefore, not everyone will be accommodated in the first few flights. We are trying to do our best by accommodating as many people as possible. Next week, our priority is to take in as many pregnant ladies as possible, especially those in advanced stages. Hopefully, we should have a schedule of flights soon," explained Vipul.

He thanked the UAE authorities for their support in conducting this exercise. "The whole process is going very smoothly. The UAE authorities have really helped us, especially with the IgG and IgM tests," added Vipul.

Following a day's break on Sunday, the sixth and seventh emergency repatriation flights from the UAE to India, carrying over 300 distressed passengers, are all set to take off from Dubai and Abu Dhabi on Monday.

An Air India Express flight to Kochi, IX 454, will take off from Dubai, and another flight to Hyderabad will depart from Abu Dhabi shortly.
11/05/20 Dhanusha Gokulan and Ashwani Kumar/KHaleej
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