Wednesday, May 06, 2020

Indian twins, stuck at Dubai airport for 50 days, set to fly home

Dubai: Tired, homesick and desperate to return home, Indian identical twins Jackson and Benson Andrews breathed a huge sigh of relief when they received an e-mail from the Consulate General of India in Dubai on Tuesday.

The 30-year-old brothers, who have been stranded inside the Dubai International Airport's terminal 3 for nearly 50 days, are among the 170-odd passengers who will be boarding the first repatriation flight to Kozhikode in Kerala on Thursday, May 7. The twins are among the 19 Indian passengers who have been stuck inside the airport for over a month.
"We received the letter from the consulate on Tuesday. A copy of our flight tickets have been sent to us as well," Jackson told Khaleej Times. Press consul at the consulate, Neeraj Aggarwal, said, "Based on the schedule of flights and the destination of passengers, these 19 stranded Indians will all be flying out on priority in the coming week."

Originally from Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, Benson and Jackson were working in Lisbon, Portugal when the crisis hit. They were transiting through Dubai when India announced a lockdown and suspended all domestic and international flights.

After weeks of uncertainty, India finally announced it will begin repatriation operations of stranded Indian citizens abroad starting May 7. From the UAE, at least 200,000 Indian citizens have registered on the web portal collecting data of persons wishing to return home.

"We are Indian citizens and have been working in Portugal for two years now. We decided to leave Lisbon when the situation was getting increasingly bad in Europe," said Jackson. The twins, who work in retail, said they used to live in the outskirts of Lisbon city.

"We were also due to get our residency cards. But, the offices giving these cards closed down as well. We decided to leave the city fearing the lockdown situation and we believed we would be safer in India," explained Jackson.
06/05/20 Dhanusha Gokulan/Khaleej Times
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