A special Air India flight carrying 244 passengers from Washington DC departed for New Delhi under the Government’s ‘Vande Bharat Mission’ on Wednesday. After landing in the national capital, the flight is scheduled to fly to Hyderabad.
Announcing the departure, Indian Ambassador to the United Stated Taranjit Singh Sandhu said this was the fourth expatriation flight from the US, under the first phase of the Vande Bharat mission.
"This is the fourth flight to depart from the US, we will have 3 more flights in the 1st phase. We are expecting 2nd phase to begin in which there will be 7 flights & thereafter we'll see what is the requirement. To date, we have the request of almost 28,000 people," Taranjit Singh Sandhu, India's Ambassador to the United States tweeted.
“Day 4 of #VandeBharatMission in the US. The flight from Washington DC bound for Delhi-Hyderabad has taken off with 244 pax. We thank the tireless efforts of @airindiain & the team @IndianEmbassyUS@harshvshringla @SandhuTaranjitS @DrSJaishankar @MEAIndia @PMOIndia @MoCA_Gol pic.twitter.com/vw88ONEki3— India in USA (@IndianEmbassyUS) May 13, 2020
Several other flights were operated to bring back Indian nationals under India's largest-ever repatriation initiative amid the coronavirus-induced lockdown. As many as 234 citizens were brought back to Indore from Kuwait in two aircraft of Kuwait Airlines carrying 117 passengers each on one plane. Another Air India special flight landed at Amritsar International Airport from Dubai with 178 passengers.
Additionally, a passenger flight carrying 177 Indians from Kuwait landed at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad. The flight reached Ahmedabad via Mumbai. A total of 2,574 more Indians have returned to the country on 12 flights from eight different places, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Wednesday evening.
India began phased repatriation of its citizens stranded abroad from May 7 under Vande Bharat Mission. The second phase of Vande Bharat Mission will be launched from May 16-22 during which 149 flights, including feeder flights, will be operated to bring back Indians from 31 countries. The government announced it will bring back 14,800 Indians on 64 flights.
(With inputs from ANI; Image credits: PTI)