India locked itself down in March 2020, stopping all flights inwards as well. A significant consequence of these seven weeks of lockdown has been that there are millions of Indians stranded outside their homeland. Earlier this week, the Government of India has started to put together a comprehensive measure to start evacuation flights to India from the United States, United Kingdom, the Middle East and South-East Asia beginning Thursday, May 7, 2020.
The repatriation will happen in a phased manner. The Government of India has handed out all these flights to Air India, and the first week of evacuation flights will bring back about 15,000 stranded Indians from 13 countries, between May 7 and May 14, 2020.
64 flights are planned at the moment to the following countries:
- Saudi Arabia
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
- United States of America
26 out of 64, i.e. 40% of these flights are planned to the Middle East (UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain) and expected to bring home 5,200 Indians between May 7 and May 14. The Indian High Commission in Dubai has shared that almost 200K Indian nationals have so far expressed their interest to fly back to India. The remaining 38 flights will evacuate Indians from South-east Asia, USA and the UK. Here is a table of the repatriation flights and which Indian airports will they head to, as per India’s Ministry of External Affairs’ CoVid-19 Cell.
In phase 1 of repatriation priority will be given passengers with medical conditions, elderly Indians, tourists stranded abroad and others with family emergencies. Medical screening of all will be mandatory before the flight, and only asymptomatic passengers will be cleared for travel. Upon arrival in India, all passengers will undergo medical screening, and apart from filling out the self-declaration form, they will have to register on the Aarogya Setu app. After a mandatory 14 days quarantine period, the passengers will be tested for COVID and then cleared by the state health authorities.
At LiveFromALounge, we will be keeping a close eye on all such flight schedules. We are creating individual posts for each country’s evacuation flights to India. Please click the following pages to find out updated information about your particular country of evacuation. Here is the price list for repatriation flights. The current update is per information provided on May 6, 2020.
- Repatriation flights from the USA: 7 flights from San Francisco, Washington DC, Chicago and New York to be conducted.
- Repatriation flights from Singapore: 5 flights to be conducted
- Repatriation flights from the UK: 7 flights to be conducted from London Heathrow
- Repatriation flights from UAE: 10 flights to be conducted, from Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah
- Repatriation flights from Oman: 2 flights to be conducted, from Muscat to Chennai and Kochi.
- Saudi Arabia
Air India is also going to allow some people to board the flights from Delhi/Mumbai to UK, Singapore and the USA on the outward leg. Here is how to book those tickets.
As usual, there will be a vast number of people wanting to fly, but there will be a chosen few only who will be able to fly back. Initial flights will be expensive, but I hope if the Government of India invites other airlines to join in the repatriation efforts, these prices will go lower and more people will be able to get back home quicker. Bookmark this page and keep coming back for more updates as quickly as we can turn it around.
What do you think of the Government of India’s evacuation flights to India plan?
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