Business India ×
  Magazine:
Aviation

Published on: June 28, 2020, 10:44 p.m.
Vande Bharat
  • The evacuation process continues. Picture courtesy: Air India

By Yeshi Seli. Assistant Editor, Business India

The Vande Bharat Mission has brought back nearly 2.5 lakh Indians stuck overseas due to the Corona pandemic since 7 May. This was primarily through national carrier Air India and its subsidiary Air India Express. There were some charter aircraft and international carriers too that were a part of the evacuation process.

As a part of the third phase, three private carriers from India – GoAir, Vistara and have joined the evacuation process.

“As per the government’s policy for evacuation, Indians with ‘compelling reasons’ were allowed to return; this included pregnant women, elderly people, students and those facing the prospect of deportation. The first phase of the mission was carried out from 7-15 May, the second from 17-22 May (which got extended to 10 June), and the third is from 11 June to 2 July,” says Hardeep Singh Puri, minister of state for civil aviation. In the ongoing phase, around 550 flights would be operated (including 191 feeder flights) covering 41 countries and operating from 55 international airports and 27 domestic airports.

Private carriers GoAir, Vistara, and Indigo have joined the mission. “In an endeavour to support the nation in repatriation under the Vande Bharat Mission, GoAir operated its maiden flight from Kuwait to Jaipur via Ahmedabad. We followed the rules laid down by the government of Kuwait, Government of India, ministry of external affairs, ministry of civil aviation and state governments of Gujarat and Rajasthan,” says a GoAir spokesperson.

Safety norms

The crew wears the mandatory safety gear – hazmat suits, masks, gloves, and headgear – through the flight. Food boxes and water bottles are kept on the seat and no service is allowed during the flight. The aircraft is sanitised before and after the flight. “Wearing hazmat suits isn’t easy while flying. We have done some turnaround flights to the Gulf from Kochi and as we don’t deplane while landing it becomes really hot and unbearable. However, we do comply with the safety norms as it is in the interest of our passengers,” says a pilot who regularly flies on the Kochi-Gulf sector of Air India Express.

Meanwhile, “The fares that the private airlines charge will not be market fare but will be pre-determined comparable to what Air India and Air India Express are levying. Domestic flights resumed within India from 25 May. Till 18 June there have been 749 departures and 753 arrivals. Around 62,850 passengers were handled on arrival and 63,192 on departure,” says Pradeep Kharola, secretary, civil aviation, speaking about the fares that private carriers charge passengers during these evacuation flights.

Regarding the resumption of international flights, Puri says it is based on several factors including the lifting of airspace restrictions by various countries, quarantine norms, and ease of travel within those countries for incoming passengers. One more factor that they would consider before restarting international flights is when domestic traffic reaches about 50 to 60 per cent.

For a passenger wanting to return to India, he has to first apply in the Indian embassy or High Commission. Following the approval, he can book his tickets to India.

Interestingly, despite the chaos that the outbreak of the pandemic has created globally, the minister of civil aviation is optimistic of the disinvestment of Air India. He says that the national carrier is a first-class asset and the disinvestment would come through once things settle down a bit.

Don't miss this

Cover Feature

The great Indian infra dream

National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) offers post-Covid-19 opportunity for economic revival. But is the government up to it?

Feature

Electrifying India’s vehicles

With a shortage of fossil fuels and tougher emission norms, cars driven by electricity could be the new normal in decades

Focus

Exports show formidable revival signs

It is time for India to resolve issues and take a fresh stance in the international market

Corporate Report

The Parliament project pushes Tata Projects higher

The company has emerged as one of India’s leading infrastructure companies

Our letter to you, once a week.
Register with The CSR Weekly for free!

E-MAGAZINE
The great Indian infrastructure dream
Cyrus-Mistry-the-$20-billion-question
Man of Steel
FROM THIS ISSUE

Government

Corporate Report

Corporate Report

F&B

Corporate Report

States

Social Responsibility

Mobility

HeroMotoCorp donates motorcycle ambulances

Published on Oct. 30, 2020, 11:05 a.m.

Continuing its assistance in fighting Covid-19, the two-wheeler major donates specially modified First Responder Vehicles to Uttarakhand

Sanitation

‘Hyundai Cares’ continues to work for health, education and a clean India

Published on Oct. 28, 2020, 2:44 p.m.

The car giant has a triad of schemes to distribute masks and education devices as well as a rural sanitisation programme

Innovation

Infotech company KPIT works with MAGIC in Aurangabad

Published on Oct. 21, 2020, 4:37 p.m.

The Marathwada Accelerator for Growth and Incubation Council is partnering with KPIT Sparkle 2021 to support student innovators

Social Inclusion

CRI Pumps in Coimbatore has a host of socially responsible programmes

Published on Oct. 21, 2020, 4:37 p.m.

The company works with Coimbatore Corporation and leading NGOs to organise cleaning drives and awareness programmes

Climate Change

Land Use

Building resilience for an urbanising India

Published on Oct. 30, 2020, 10:25 a.m.

Climate change with its range of impact on regions and geographies needs the participation of communities

Green Buildings

How green is your storage? Ask CII-IGBC

Published on Oct. 30, 2020, 10:09 a.m.

The industry body’s new initiative will help logistics systems in India to save energy and water as well as improving health

Waste Management

GD Environmental sees an opportunity in medical waste

Published on Oct. 21, 2020, 5:34 p.m.

The company sees strong opportunities in fundamentally shifting the costs and process of waste management

Energy

Energy storage leaders call for policy measures to create Atmanirbhar Bharat

Published on Oct. 8, 2020, 11:48 a.m.

Global thought leaders and policymakers discussed the issue to mark World Energy Storage Day recently

Stay ahead of the times.
Register with The Climate Change Weekly for free!