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

Once in a lifetime

The LIC IPO is a huge opportunity for the government as well as investors and a game changer in the stock markets

Corporate Report

BL Agro goes beyond ‘Bail Kolhu’

With its marketing drive, edible oil manufacturer BL Agro is drawing attention

Special Report

Is the cheap gas dream going bust?

War upsets both political and economic calculations

Corporate Report

RR Kabel builds traction

The company is all geared up to expand its share in the domestic electrical goods market

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

E-MAGAZINE
Big Move
Season of Mergers
India Inc.: Achieving Sustainable Development Goals
FROM THIS ISSUE

Real Estate

Government

Hospitality

Corporate Report

Health

Interiors

Social Responsibility

Company Feature

Classrooms go live, thanks to Airtel

Published on April 5, 2022, 11:25 a.m.

Despite the pandemic, Bharti Foundation has ensured that children are not deprived of learning opportunities

Column

Collaborative excellence

Published on April 4, 2022, 8:53 p.m.

A policy perspective for meeting SDG-9 in low resource setting of developing economies

Column

Innovation and infrastructure

Published on April 4, 2022, 8:10 p.m.

India is well-positioned to become a model of corporate sustainability

Column

‘More for less’

Published on April 1, 2022, 10:12 p.m.

The merger of technology and SDGs – A game-changing win of the era

Climate Change

Decarbonisation

Carbon Clean gets a fillip

Published on May 17, 2022, 3:56 p.m.

US oil giant Chevron to invest $150m in London-based clean-tech firm

Hunger

Hunger looms large in India

Published on May 17, 2022, 3:33 p.m.

The rise in average temperature is likely to impact agricultural production

Cement

Adani Group bags Ambuja Cements, ACC

Published on May 17, 2022, 3:13 p.m.

Adani Group bagging the deal is being seen as a major win for the conglomerate

Renewable Energy

Tata Power clinches 300 MW solar project

Published on May 17, 2022, 2:49 p.m.

The project worth Rs1,731crore is located in Rajasthan

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