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Vande Bharat Mission: Air India Express special flight arrives in Kochi with over 170 passengers from Doha

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Kochi (Kerala) | May 22, 2020 9:41:48 AM IST
An Air India Express special flight (IX-0476) that took off from Doha, Qatar landed at Cochin International Airport in Kerala on Friday.

The flight brought back 177 passengers and eight infants.

This was part of the Vande Bharat Mission which started on May 7 to bring back stranded Indian nationals home amid the novel coronavirus-induced lockdown.

The phased evacuation is being done under the Vande Bharat Mission, the second phase of which started from May 16.

In order to facilitate the return of stranded Indian nationals in Oman, the Indian government has decided to operate more special flights to Bangalore, Calicut, Delhi, Kannur, Kochi, and Gaya on May 20, 21, 22 and 23.

Under the second phase, a total of 149 flights, including feeder flights, are expected to be operated to bring back stranded Indians from 40 countries.

Meanwhile, more countries have been added in the second phase of Vande Bharat Mission. Now, stranded and distressed Indians from Finland, South Korea, Belgium, New Zealand, Netherlands, Kenya, Mauritius, Spain, Myanmar, Maldives, Egypt and Sri Lanka will also be able to return on special flights, according to Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri.

Hardeep Singh Puri on Thursday said that upwards of 20 thousand Indian citizens have been brought back to the country under the Vande Bharat mission so far and the number will rise further in the coming days.

"Under Vande Bharat mission, we have brought back more than 20 thousand of our citizens from various destinations. We have at the same time utilised the outgoing aircraft to carry our citizens who are normally residents abroad, and needed to travel because they have jobs to do and other commitments," Puri said at a press conference here.(ANI)

 
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