KLM operates a repatriation flight to India, in a move from adding on to Air India’s efforts

Air India has been operating repatriation flights to bring back Indians from abroad for about three weeks now, having gone near and far to facilitate the effort. However, we know that even by the latest numbers only 30,000 people have been brought back to India and there will be hundreds, perhaps thousands, of flights needed to bring back those who want to return to the country given the number of people who need to come back to the country.

While initially this effort was being handled by Air India and Air India Express exclusively, the Government of India continued to say that they will take the helping hand of other airlines in the coming days while making Air India, Air India Express run point on the flights. Only recently was it announced that India’s other private carriers will be allocated some flights to the countries in the neighbourhood to operate flights. IndiGo is the only one sharing details at the moment.

So imagine my surprise when a regular reader sent me a message to track a KLM flight, KL877 operated on May 26, 2020, from Amsterdam to Mumbai, which brought home Indians stuck in Amsterdam. KLM has been operating repatriation flights from both Mumbai and Delhi to take back European citizens to Europe, via Amsterdam. In fact, the German stuck at Delhi Airport was sent on one of these flights.

However, it is for the first time I have seen one of these flights being used to bring home stranded Indians back to the country as well. For that matter, I was told by someone that these flights to take home other nationalities from India were operating empty because they were not allowed to bring Indians home (Delta, United, British Airways, Air New Zealand, Qantas are some airlines which have operated flights to India from their respective countries to take home their citizens back to their country).

So I scanned the list of Vande Bharat mission flights that I’d posted for this update, and even the official Ministry of External Affairs website. There was no mention of KLM operating a flight to Mumbai for the Vande Bharat Mission. Then it turned out, KLM had indeed somehow convinced the Embassy in the Netherlands, or perhaps the Indian Embassy in the Netherlands reached out to them to take some Indians home on their empty leg flying out from Amsterdam Schipol.

This is the email that selected passengers received to confirm their booking on this flight.

This flight also coordinated with the KLM flights from Mexico to bring stranded Indians from Mexico and Peru home.

KLM will operate KL878 from Mumbai to Amsterdam on May 28, 2020, taking back those who want to go back to the NL.

Bottomline

India needs as much help as it can get to bring back it’s citizens home from various countries. In a press conference on May 22, 2020, the Indian Civil Aviation Ministry had clarified their stance that only Indian carriers will be used to repatriate to India. So, it just makes a lot of sense to allow other airlines to fly back Indians as well where they can. I hope this one-off flight is a step in this direction, and the Indian Government will be allowing as many airlines to bring back home as many stranded Indians as possible in the quickest time frame, including the Indian carriers.

Are there any other repatriation flights which flew with Indians back home, apart from Air India flights so far which I seemed to have missed?

(HT: Balaji VenkataRaman)


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Comments

  1. Hello, I am Canadian citizen. Just wondering Is there any flight available for july month from Dehli to Vancouver. We need to travel to Vancouver Canada urgently .. kindly send me the details asap pls

  2. I flew from Delhi to Amsterdam on morning June 4 th and from Amsterdam to Chicago late afternoon Flight to Amsterdam was full From Amsterdam to Chicago only 25 % KLM service was excellent
    Thanks KLM

    • Hi Krishna,

      I am planning to fly from Mumbai to Amsterdam and then to SFO from Amsterdam. Do we need any special approval to fly in these flights. I am not a citizen of US. Can I fly in these flights?

      Thank you

    • I have a ticket booked on klm878 from mumbai to amsterdam for 18th June and then to NYC. I am on H4. Do we need any special embassy approvals to fly? What is the process involved? Please clarify.

  3. WE ARE ABOUT 300 PASSENGERS STRANDED IN INDIA FROM KENYA. AIR INDIA HAS SHOWN SPECIAL FLIGHT FROM MUMBAI TO NAIROBI AI 961 DEPARTING 0625HRS. TILL NOW THE AIR INDIA RESERVATION WINDOWS HAVE NOT BE OPENED. THEREFORE IS AIR INDIA AI 961 TO OPERATE ON 05.06.2020 FROM MUMBAI TO NAIROBI. NO UPDATE TILL NOW. CALLING AIR INDIA TOLL NUMBERS NO ANSWER. REPLY URGENY

  4. We are desperately waiting to return to motherland.
    Why not GOI allow private airlines for evacuation purpose from US?
    A few AI services from very few locations is an eye wash.
    Air India unable to meet the need of the hour.
    Please take us back,afterall we are stranded Indians not refugees.We are even tax payers.Show some sympathy on us.We are missing our dear and near and greatly suffering for variety of reasons.
    From:Orlando. FL, USA.

    • Hi
      My sister and her husband is stuck in Amsterdam.
      They are not able to come back due to non availability of flights.
      My brother in law who suffering with liver cancer wants to come back to india as he longing to be in his country
      Request the authority to kindly understand the situation
      And help them to
      Bring back to India
      They reside in Bangalore
      Can any one help them
      This a humble request

  5. We are seamen’s, waiting to go home from Southampton port UK about a month,all other nationalities are leaving except the Indian crew.how long we have to wait,why not allowing other flights for us to reach home, instead waiting long and getting depressed on empty ships

  6. Other than these day time Robery Jai Bharat flights, are there ever going to be regular international flights so that we can get back to the US? Jai Shri Ram!

  7. Why is govt of India depending only on Air India to repatriate Indians n Oci. Why can’t they get help from Klm or British airways and expedite the evacuation process so stranded students in uk ND USA can get back to India fast.

  8. It’s possible that this was a special case for those klm passengers who were on that flight to delhi that had to be turned back last month. Whatever happened to those passengers ?

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