Wednesday, May 06, 2020

How much will tickets on UAE-India repatriation flights cost?

Dubai: The first repatriation flight from Dubai to Kozhikode, Kerala, will be priced at Dh725, an Air India official has revealed to Khaleej Times. This is contrary to some media reports suggesting that the tickets on repatriation flights will be exorbitantly priced.

The final ticket prices are yet to be announced by the Indian government, but a senior Kerala state minister said flights from the UAE to Kerala are likely to cost around Dh750.

"That is the price we are expecting. The price of the ticket is decided by the Central government and the indication we have is the cost will not exceed Rs15,000 (approximately Dh730)," K.T. Jaleel, a minister in the Kerala's LDF-led government told Khaleej Times on Tuesday.

But the biggest concern, Jaleel said, is that only those who are tested for Covid-19 should be allowed to board the flights. "There is not much social distancing inside a flight with 200 passengers onboard. It is risky to allow people, especially pregnant women, elderly and those with medical conditions to travel without testing," said the minister.

On May 7, India will begin what is believed to be the biggest repatriation mission in the country's history to bring home citizens stranded abroad amid the coronavirus pandemic. Sounding off the concern of returning expats spreading infection, Kerala's chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking him to ensure that there will not be "any compromise on observing internationally accepted health protocols".

"I request you that persons should be tested for Covid-19 infection before they board the aircraft in the best interest of everybody including them," said the CM in a letter dated Monday, May 5, a copy which is with Khaleej Times.

"Since we have taken time to plan and decide to bring them back on prearranged dates, it will be quite in accordance with logic and reason that the persons travelling in chartered aircraft are subject to Covid-19 tests before boarding itself," read the letter.
06/05/20 Anjana Sankar and Dhanusha Gokulan/KHaleej Times
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