Private-run budget airline IndiGo on Friday operated two special relief flights to evacuate Kenyan nationals from various Indian cities to Mumbai from where they headed back to their home country through a Kenyan airline. In a press statement, IndiGo said a flight from Delhi-Ahmedabad-Mumbai transferred a total of 114 passengers while the flight from Chennai-Bangalore-Hyderabad-Mumbai transferred 83 passengers to Mumbai.
The operations assisted in a seamless transfer of 75 citizens from Delhi, 39 from Ahmedabad, 23 from Chennai, 28 from Bengaluru and 32 from Hyderabad, to Mumbai, the company said.
The press release quoted IndiGo CEO Ronojoy Dutta as saying the company is "pleased to contribute in the evacuation efforts for Kenyan nationals from across the country to Mumbai, from where they were flown to (Kenyan capital) Nairobi by Kenyan Airways".
In our endeavour to ensure all citizens safely reach their respective homeland we recently flew about 197 Kenyan nationals to their country. The charter was initiated in tandem with the Kenyan Embassy. Here’s a glimpse. #LetsIndiGo #aviation #Airports pic.twitter.com/dQWQrLiBM1— IndiGo (@IndiGo6E) May 8, 2020
"The Charter was initiated in coordination with the Kenyan consulate and the Indian government, to help the citizens reach the Mumbai airport from various cities including Delhi, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad. We are grateful to the government for allowing IndiGo to operate these repatriation flights, which contributed to the return of stranded Kenyan Nationals to their homes safely," Ronojoy Dutta added.
#Spotchecks 8 am IST , the 2 @IndiGo6E flights @ForeignOfficeKE promised are picking up Kenyans across various cities to fly them to Mumbai where the @KenyaAirways flight awaits . @dailynation @PamSittoni @agmutambo @WaihigaMwaura @KoinangeJeff @Eric_Ndubi @ashamwilu @rakidi pic.twitter.com/NWbzGOnkUG— Leon Lidigu (@LeonLidigu) May 7, 2020
On the occasion, Willy Kipkorir Bett, High Commissioner of Kenya to India thanked IndiGo and lauded the evacuation exercise.
“We partnered with IndiGo to facilitate the mobilization of our Kenyan citizens from various cities in the country to Mumbai. I would like to take this opportunity to thank IndiGo and to say that they executed the mobilization in the most professional manner, right from discussing the special requirements for passengers (patients), to ensuring safety measures for COVID-19 like social distancing,” he said.
The Kenyan Foreign Ministry also confirmed the landing of 234 of its nationals in Nairobi from India. It said External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs Raychelle Omamo had in April discussed the evacuation of stranded Kenyans in India back to their country.
On 21st April, CS Raychelle Omamo had a phone call with India's External Relations Minister H.E Jaishankar on facilitation of stranded Kenyans in India amid #COVID19 extensive lockdown in India, this has come true as 234 Kenyans arrived home today.Tom'r we expect those in China pic.twitter.com/VHHJ3kubhp— ForeignAffairsKenya (@ForeignOfficeKE) May 8, 2020