Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Vande Bharat Mission brings home 95,000 Indians, says civil aviation minister

The country's repatriation exercise Vande Bharat Mission has brought back 95,000 Indians so far, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said.

At present, the Mission is on its third phase, which began on June 10. In the first phase, the world's largest repatriation exercise had got back about 16,000 Indians.

The third phase, which is also the biggest of the Mission till now, will have Air India operating over 200 flights. Apart from these, there will 356 flights, which include the return services and domestic connections.

"In comparison, foreign airlines have repatriated about 2 lakh passengers in 850 flights, from India," the minister said on June 16, while addressing an industry event held online.
"We will ramp up Vande Bharat Mission further," Puri added.

Defending the Mission from criticism that Air India has got a monopoly over it, the minister said the four private airlines have been invited to take part in the exercise. These are GoAir, IndiGo, SpiceJet and Vistara.

He also defended the fares being charged for these flights, saying that the cost structures are different from a commercial flight. "Air India has flown to 52 countries as part of the Mission, and these include many where the carrier has never flown," the minister said.
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