75 special repatriation flights to 7 US and Canadian cities between June 5 & June 30
State-run carrier Air India has opened bookings for around 300 flights to various destinations in the USA, Canada, UK and Europe under phase-3 of the Vande Bharat Mission. The move resulted in “overwhelming” demand from travelers as the airline received around six crore hits on its website during the first two hours of opening the bookings.
“Demand for seats from India on flights planned under Mission Vande Bharat-3 is overwhelming. Sectors/ Flights are being opened in a systematic manner for booking, on the website,” AIR INDIA tweeted.
“Those who wish to travel to US and Canada and fulfil required entry conditions can book themselves on these outbound flights. Some foreign airlines have already carried out evacuation flights & are planning to operate more flights. These flights will also take foreign nationals,” Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri informed on Twitter on Wednesday.
However, he added that normal international civil aviation operations will only start when the situation normalises. “Right now most of our metro cities are under some form of restrictions due to which people from other cities cannot travel to catch flights and we also have a requirement for mandatory quarantine on arrival. We have to wait for the domestic operations to touch about 50-60 per cent and consider the behaviour of the virus and its spread to fully lift these restrictions and lockdown. Till then flights under Vande Bharat Mission are facilitating both inbound and outbound international passengers,” he said in a series of tweets.
Also, the behaviour of the virus and its spread will be taken into account before a decision is taken about international travel. Till then flights under Vande Bharat Mission are facilitating both inbound and outbound international passengers, the minister said.
According to the latest MHA guidelines, international flights can resume in the third phase of unlocking, which does not yet have a tentative deadline to it.
The airline later tweeted again, “Bookings for select destinations in USA, Canada, UK & Europe etc under Phase3 of #MissionVandeBharat opened at 5pm today. Around 60 million hits received till 7 pm on our website & 1700 seats sold through website alone in 2 hrs. Bookings continue & tickets are being issued.”
The third phase of the mission will begin from (Thursday) June 11 and continue till June 30. Air India will operate five flights in this phase of Vande Bharat Mission to evacuate nearly 1,200 Indians nationals stranded in the UK between June 18 to June 23. The airline will operate 70 flights to evacuate Indians stranded in the US and Canada between June 11 to June 30, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had said.