Airlines across the globe join fight against coronavirus, by offering special flights, to evacuate and bring back stranded nationals, safely to their respective homeland. By Tanvi Jain

In response to the plight of migrant workers, left with no other choice but to walk hundreds of miles from their place of work, back to their respective villages, amid complete lockdown, various airlines have come forward and offered to fly them back home.

1. GoAir 


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GoAir has reached out to the Ministry of Civil Aviation and has offered its services to fly the workers and their families to the airports closest to their homes. “GoAir stands with the nation and has offered its assistance to the Government in whatever way is useful, including helping our fellow Indian migrant workers get home, as we navigate this unprecedented crisis together,” the airline tweeted. 

2. SpiceJet 


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Another airline SpiceJet recently offered to operate special flights from Delhi and Mumbai to Patna, to help migrant workers fly back home, after already flying food, medicine, and medical equipment, for governmenton a daily basis. The airline has also reportedly offered its aircraft and crew members to the Government, to help in any mission, during the 21-day lockdown period. Last week, it had operated a special flight from Delhi to Coimbatore, which they confirmed on Twitter, saying, “SpiceJet operated a special flight from Delhi to Coimbatore yesterday, to deliver one hazmat suit. This will help the local authorities research & manufacture more locally, and bolster their efforts to combat #COVID19.” 

The airline had also recently flown a special flight from Iran, to airlift 142 Indians, and safely land them at a quarantine facility in Jodhpur. “The joint fight against #COVID19 continues. SpiceJet had the honour to operate a special flight to fly 142 Indians, evacuated from Iran, from Delhi to a quarantine facility in Jodhpur. All safety protocols were adhered to by the crew during this special flight,” it said in another Tweet. 

3. IndiGo 


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The airline recently said in a press statement, that it has offered its resources, aircraft and crew to the Union Civil Aviation Ministry, further adding to fly medicine, equipment and relief sample. The airline’s CEO Ronojoy Dutta, also reportedly wrote a letter to Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, expressing concern over the logistical issues, the sector is facing while transporting the required material and offered to help in the activity. 

4. Air India 


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Air India has offered to operate up to nine charter flights from Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai to Farnkfurt. These flights while coming back from Germany will fly as ferry flights, i.e. without any passengers. As per reports, the plan includes first bring back stranded German travellers from cities such as  Hyderabad, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram, to Delhi and Mumbai, via smaller Airbus A-320, and then transfer them to wider Boeing 777 and B 787 for Frankfurt. 

“After flying 1,000 stranded travellers from Delhi to Frankfurt last week, we’re working closely w/t IND authorities (esp MEA) to bring home many more. Challenges amidst lock-down not small, but we’re working on it 24/7. Registered GER travellers: Please check your mails constantly!” Tweeted German Ambassador to India, Walter J Lindner, 

The airlines recently operated a flight from Delhi to Tel Aviv, to send back Israeli nationals stuck in Indiaand sent Boeing 777 to Rome to bring back Indians.  

5. Qatar Airways 


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Qatar Airways recently said that the airlines has  transported at least 5,00,000 test kits to Doha, to further be donated to local health services. It had earlier confirmed of adding 48,000 seats from Australia, in order to fly people stuck amid lockdown. “We know there are many expats living in Australia that are looking to get home to their loved ones. Our extra 48,000 seats out of Perth, Sydney, Melbourne and now Brisbane are bringing families together again,” the airline had Tweeted. 

Moreover, it also flew thousands of German nationals and their family members to their respective countries. “Qatar Airways flies thousands of stranded German nationals and their family members to their homes in Germany. Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, H.E. Mr Akbar Al Baker met with Germany’s Ambassador to Qatar, H E Hans-Udo Muzel, who expressed his gratitude to Qatar Airways for flying thousands of Germans from all over Asia via @HIAQatar to their homes in Germany,” the airline further mentioned in the Tweet. 

Furthermore, the airlines also recently operated special charter flights to Muscat, in order to bring back Omani students from countries like Australia, New Zealand and the United States. “Our charter flights to Muscat, operated by an @Airbus A321 and a @Boeing 777, are taking stranded Omanis back home from their studies in Australia, New Zealand, and the US. #TakingYouHome,” the airlines tweeted.

6. Lufthansa 


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The European airline has also been operating several flights to evacuate its citizens stuck at various locations across the planet. Lufthansa Tweeted, “We were already able to bring 17,000 passengers back home, we are flying important humanitarian goods to wherever they are needed most, and we are taking care of your bookings. Thank you for your patience. Further information: 

Many other airlines have also offered similar help for the safe transfer of people stuck away from home. Apart from the aforementioned airlines, others that have stepped up in the fight against coronavirus, include British Airways, Japan Airlines, AirAsia Berhad, and etc. As per news reports, as many 14 international airlines have operated at least 34 flights, in the past three weeks, both to evacuate foreign nationals from India, as well as to bring back Indian nationals stuck abroad. 

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