Coronavirus: More Indian repatriation flights to depart from UAE on Saturday until May 23

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - The second batch of repatriation flights to India will begin to depart from the UAE on Saturday, officials have confirmed.

In a tweet on Friday, the Indian Consulate in said "11 Air India Express flights" would carry hundreds of Indian nationals home under the “second phase of the Vande Bharat Mission”.

The flights, the majority of which are due to arrive in Kerala, south India, will operate from May 16 to May 23.

They will depart from both Dubai International Airport and Abu Dhabi International Airport.

As per the current timetable, the first of the scheduled flights, IX 0435, is due to take off from Dubai for Kochi on Saturday.

An additional two carriers will depart from Abu Dhabi later in the day, both destined for Calicut.

On Sunday, two flights will depart from Dubai to Kannur and Kochi, and one flight from Abu Dhabi to Kochi. All flights will be subject to slot approvals.

The first phase of repatriation flights to India from Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah concluded on Thursday afternoon, as Air India flight AI 996 departed for Delhi.

Indian Consulate in Dubai says 11 Air India Express flights will start to depart from UAE on May 16. Pawan Singh / The National
Indian Consulate in Dubai says 11 Air India Express flights will start to depart from UAE on May 16. Pawan Singh / The National

About 2,000 passengers have managed to reunite with loved ones as a result of the weeks-long government-backed operation.

As expected, the announcement of the second phase of flights has been welcomed by many who are desperate to return home.

Many tourists were stranded in the UAE when both countries closed their borders in March. And due to job losses and salary cuts, many Indian residents in the UAE made plans travel back to their home countries too, due to financial difficulties.

When the Indian Embassy announced that it would start carrying people home on special flights earlier this month, more than 200,000 residents and tourists in the Emirates registered for the service. The first flight out of the country as part of the operation departed on May 7.

As per embassy guidelines, priority for the initial phases is being given to pregnant women, children, older people or Indian nationals with health problems.

A passenger carries her child as they wait to check in at Dubai International Airport. AFP

Indian citizens arriving from Abu Dhabi as part of a massive repatriation effort during the coronavirus pandemic, at the Cochin International Airport in Kochi. AFP

Indian travellers who arrived on a special flight from Abu Dhabi are transported to a quarantine centre near Cochin International Airport as part of a massive repatriation effort to bring home citizens during the coronavirus pandemic. AFP

Indian citizens evacuated from Maldives with a special ship INS Jalashwa are being shifted to a quarantine centre by bus, as part of a massive repatriation effort due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic at the Cochin port in Kochi in the south Indian state of Kerala on May 10, 2020. / AFP / Arunchandra BOSE

Dr Amar Fettle, the state nodal officer for Covid-19 who oversees Kerala's public health emergency.

People wearing masks walk past a man selling face masks by the roadside in Kochi, Kerala. The southern Indian state has made wearing face masks mandatory in public and at work to curb the spread of the coronavirus. AP 

Medical staff collect samples from people at walk-in kiosks to test for the coronavirus at Ernakulam Medical College in Kerala. AFP 

Medics wearing protective gear examine a patient at a hospital in Kozhikode in India's southern Kerala state. Reuters 

Members of the Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) attend a meeting in this file photo. One of the key components of India's national rural health mission is to provide every village in the country with a trained female community health activist known as 'Asha' or hope. AFP

Indian laborers wearing masks report for the day's work at a metro rail construction site in Kochi, Kerala, India, Saturday, May 2, 2020. The southern state has made wearing face masks mandatory in public places and work places as part of measures to curb the spread of the new coronavirus. (AP Photo/R S Iyer)

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Updated: May 15, 2020 03:53 PM

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