Tuesday, March 01, 2022

Proud to be part of the effort, says Air India pilot who flew evacuation flight from Ukraine

New Delhi: Air India Pilot Shivani Kalra, who flew the sixth evacuation flight from Ukraine, which started from Budapest and landed in Delhi on Monday, told The Indian Express she is “proud to have been a part of the process”.

“It usually doesn’t happen but when I left home last night, my mother came and hugged me. She was a bit emotional. I have been part of evacuation and rescue flights during Covid times but I guess the news of war scared them. My brother and father were anxious and called me as soon as I landed,” she said.

Kalra has been with Air India for over three years now. “When we reached Budapest and met the students, they were all scared. I spoke to them and tried to console them. We assured them that they’ll reach home safe. They were excited to return. My family was scared a bit but it was all smooth. When we landed, everyone was clapping. I came out of the gates and saw families cheering. This is the first time something like this happened. I am thankful I got this opportunity,” she said.

The group of students had left Ukraine’s Uzhhorod for the Hungary border and reached Budapest Monday morning. Over 240 Indian students were evacuated via the Air India flight, they arrived in Delhi at 6 pm.

The students were welcomed by anxious parents and family members waiting at the airport for hours.

Osama, a first-year MBBS student at Uzhhorod National University, rushed to hug his father Md Hassan. His cousins gave him a bouquet and hugged him as he cried.

01/03/22 Jignasa Sinha/Indian Express

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