New Delhi, May 05: Thousands of Indians stranded abroad due to the coronavirus-induced travel restrictions would be brought back by special flights and the Indian missions abroad were gearing up for the massive operation. However, they will be charged for the flights bringing them home.
From the Gulf countries to Malaysia and the UK to the US, the multi-agency operation christened 'Vande Bharat Mission' will see the state-owned airline operate the non-scheduled commercial flights till May 13 to ferry around 15,000 Indian nationals from 12 countries.
The first two special flights that will operate from Thursday to evacuate Indians stranded in the UAE due to the coronavirus pandemic will begin with applicants from Kerala, who formed the majority of the expatriates who have registered to be repatriated from here.
Fifteen-hour flights from the US will cost Rs 1 lakh, while flights form the UK will cost Rs 50,000 per passenger.
The fare for Singapore-Delhi/Mumbai will be Rs 20,000 and Singapore-Bengaluru will be Rs 18,000.
Some of the fares (one way) from the Gulf countries such as Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Doha to Kochi, Kerala range from Rs 15,000 to Rs 16,000.
India imposed a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the country, grounding all international flights since mid-March. Under the repatriation plan, the government will be facilitating the return of Indian nationals stranded abroad on compelling grounds in a phased manner.
Air India will operate 64 flights from May 7 to May 13 to bring back around 15,000 Indian nationals stranded abroad amid the COVID-19 lockdown, it was announced in New Delhi on Tuesday