Saturday, May 09, 2020

First Air India repatriation flight to take off from UK with 250 Indians

London: Around 250 Indian students and tourists stranded in the UK due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown for nearly two months are preparing to board the first repatriation flight from London to Mumbai on Saturday.
The flight marks the first of seven Air India routes organised by the Indian government from London's Heathrow Airport to six Indian cities over the next week - Mumbai (Saturday and Tuesday), Bengaluru (Sunday), Hyderabad (Monday), Ahmedabad (Wednesday), Chennai (Thursday) and New Delhi (Friday) - in the first phase of the UK-India segment of the 'Operation Vande Bharat- A homecoming'.
"This is the biggest-ever repatriation operation anywhere in the world at any time. Flights will be scheduled until the last Indian has been flown back home, no one will be left behind," said Kuldeep Shekhawat, the President of the Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP) diaspora group who is helping with the coordination efforts.
"The flight schedule in subsequent phases from the UK will depend on demand and if there are enough passengers, direct flights will be organised to other Indian cities which have an international airport," he said.
The first Air India flight will arrive at London's Heathrow Airport with double the required crew members on board, half of whom will stay behind for further schedules.
Passengers will be tested for temperature, one of the symptoms of COVID-19, before boarding and only those showing no symptoms would be able to make the journey.
08/05/20 PTI/Economic Times
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