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Air India to fly special flights from May 8 to May 14, to send stranded citizens from the US, UK and Singapore, back to their home countries. By Tanvi Jain

 

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Good news for individuals from the United States, United Kingdom and Singapore, stranded in India, amid lockdown in light of COVID-19, as national carrier Air India has now opened bookings to fly passengers to these three countries from May 8 to May 14. The same was confirmed by the airlines in a statement on its official website. 

The airline under the Vande Bharat Mission will also be conducting operations to airlift stranded Indians from 12 countries. It will fly 64 flights of which 12 will be reserved for Gulf countries.  

However, while booking the tickets, one needs to make sure that he/she is a citizen of any of the three mentioned destination countriesholds a visa for the destination country with a minimum one-year validity, holds a Green Card or an Overseas Citizen Of India CardThe passenger will have to pay the entire cost by herself/himself, he/she is also supposed to pre-check his/her eligibility before booking the tickets and abide by all travel and health requirements of the respective country. 

 

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Prior to boarding, all the passengers will have to go through a thermal screening, and only those found asymptomatic will be allowed to board the flight. Not only will they be boarding the flight at their own risk, but they will also have to bear the quarantine cost of the destination country, along with return fare, and deportation penalty if need be. 

The operations which were scheduled to start from May have however been delayed, as the maiden evacuation flight from New Delhi to San Francisco, which was scheduled to take off on May 7, will now reportedly fly on May 8 around 3:30 am. Similarly, another Air India flight from Mumbai to London also got delayed by a day. 

 

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The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) recently issued Standard Operating Protocols (SOPs) stating guidelines to be followed for the evacuation of Indians stranded abroad. Furthermore, the Government also dispatched two naval ships to the Maldives. Reports suggest that the Government plans to evacuate at least 1.9 lakh Indians via air and sea routes. 

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