India evacuation operation ‘Vande Bharat Mission’ updates



The first flight evacuating Indian nationals stranded abroad landed in Kerala’s Kochi International Airport at 10:20 pm on Thursday from Abu Dhabi, with 177 passengers and four children. The second flight landed in north Kerala’s Kozhikode airport from Dubai, with 177 passengers and five children.

In an earlier announcement, India has said that 64 flights and three Navy ships would be operated to bring home nearly 15,000 Indians stranded overseas. The operation is titled ‘Vande Bharat Mission’. The Indian nationals stranded in Bahrain, UAE, USA, Malaysia, Kuwait, and Singapore will be airlifted on Friday. Meanwhile, the passengers who landed in the two flights were ushered in batches into a triage area, where they were made to undergo mandatory health screening.

In the mission that started Thursday, nearly 15,000 Indians stranded overseas are expected to return on special Air India flights from 12 countries over a week. Of the 64 flights, 15 would be to Kerala, 11 each to Delhi and Tamil Nadu, seven each to Maharashtra and Telangana, and the rest to Gujarat, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, and Uttar Pradesh.

A special Air India 'Vande Bharat Mission' flight from Singapore took off with 234 passengers on Friday morning. The flight, AI381 will land in Delhi at 11:35 am.

Security checks are being conducted for the special Dhaka-Delhi flight that will take off from Bangladesh's Dhaka at 11:00 am and will land in Delhi at 1:00 pm. The flight will bring Indian nationals stranded in Bangladesh to the country.

The passengers who are symptomatic will be shifted to COVID hospitals, while the asymptomatic will be moved to institutional quarantine centres for 14 days in their home districts.

Meanwhile, pregnant women, the elderly, children below 10 and the indisposed have been allowed to travel to their homes, where they will have to stay under strict home quarantine. There were around 60 pregnant women in the first two flights.

Airport authorities said baggage will be handed over to passengers only after strict disinfection procedures – a spray of sodium hypochlorite, followed by exposure to ultraviolet rays by passing the luggage through two tunnels. The ultraviolet disinfection system, developed by DRDO, was recently installed at Kochi airport.

Five special flights will bring the Indians stranded abroad to the country today. The following are the flights that are operational today:

  • Singapore to Delhi (Dept: 0835 hrs, arrival 1135 hrs),
  • Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) to Kozhikode (Kerala) (Dept:1245 hrs, arrival 2030 hrs),
  • Dhaka (Bangladesh) to Delhi (Dept: 11:00 hrs, arrival:1300 hrs).
  • Manama (Bahrain) to Kochi (Kerala) (Dept:16:30 hrs, arrival: 2330 hrs)
  • Dubai (UAE) to Chennai (Tamil Nadu) (Dept: 1450 hrs, arrival 2010 hrs)