Tuesday, June 02, 2020

New Zealand citizens trying to charter a flight home held up by government approval

A group of New Zealanders stuck in India have arranged to charter a Singapore Airlines flight home...now they just need the government to come home.

They have a plane and a plan, but for a group of 500 New Zealanders stuck in India, it's government approval they are waiting on to get them home.

At the beginning of the year, Ricky Singh? took his newborn son to India to meet his family for the first time.

Singh, who has lived in New Zealand for 13 years and been a permanent resident for six, said his fast food delivery business was facing bankruptcy if he did not make it back to New Zealand in the next two to three weeks.

Singh is one of about 1800 Kiwis stuck in India due to a lack of flights, 500 of whom are trying to charter a flight home.
The group plans to charter a plane from Singapore Airlines, which has been agreed by the airline, then fly from Delhi, to Chennai in south India, before heading to either Auckland or Christchurch.

The proposal was submitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) on May 15, and then again on May 28.

Singh said he had been in almost daily contact with MFAT since submitting the proposal, but felt he was getting nowhere.

He, and others in the group, had also been in touch with the Prime Minister's office, he said.

No one would be allowed on the flight who was not a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, and the cost would be covered entirely by the group, with tickets costing about $2490 each.

If allowed, the plane could then be used to take Indian residents currently stuck in New Zealand home.

Singh said the group was presenting a solution to a problem, and only needed the Government to get on board.
02/05/20 Laura Wiltshire/Stuff

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