The Centre on Saturday added 141 more flights from Gulf nations to the second phase of Vande Bharat Mission, the government's massive repatriation programme to bring back stranded citizens from overseas amid Covid-19-related travel restrictions. With this addition, the number of flights in Phase 2 of the programme goes up to over 400.
These flights are majorly bound to New Delhi and other major cities in states like Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, etc.
The second phase of the mission began on May 16 and was to end on May 22. However, government officials on Thursday said that the phase will continue till June 13 and cover up to 47 countries.
External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said that India was looking forward to making Frankfurt a hub for the mission.
As of Thursday afternoon, a total of 23,475 Indian nationals were brought back home since the mission began on May 7. A total of 2,59,001 people had registered for the government's major repatriation programme to return from 98 countries.
The government may involve private airlines in the third phase of the evacuation mission after June 13, officials said.