Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Number of UAE repatriation flights to India set to double

The number of repatriation flights from the UAE to India is set to more than double from next week as officials step up efforts to allow citizens to return home.

About 420,000 people have registered with the Indian consulate and embassy seeking to fly back to India, including elderly people, those with medical conditions, and many who had lost jobs because of the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

Those hoping to land seats on flights include people returning from holidays and college students in the Emirates.

Indian citizens in the Emirates have appealed for more flights from the UAE, which is home to the world’s largest non-resident Indian population of more than 3.4 million.

Only 25 flights from Dubai and Abu Dhabi on government carriers Air India Express and Air India have been announced during the third Vande Bharat or Salute India repatriation phase that began on Tuesday.
So far, about 21,000 Indians have flown home on more than 90 flights since services began on May 7.

“There will be a significant increase in the flights from June 20 onwards, it will be more than two to three times the existing flights,” Neeraj Agrawal, consul for press in Dubai told The National.

“We are in the stage of finalising these slots and a detailed schedule will be announced soon.”

Of the total passengers, 14,300 people departed on 80 flights from Dubai as of Monday. The bodies of 50 people were also repatriated.

The consulate had last week appealed for patience from the community as officials attempted to prioritise people seeking to return.
09/06/20 Ramola Talwar Badam/National
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