More international repatriation flights on the charts under Vande Bharat Mission phase 5, scheduled to kick-start this August. Air India starts bookings. By Tanvi Jain

Coming August, India’s Vande Bharat Mission is all set to enter its fifth phase, in which it will be operating more and more repatriation flights on international routes such as to Australia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, etc.  

VBM reaches out to Indians across the world. More than 845K people have returned since 6th May 2020. More than 282K have returned on evacuation flights operated by @airindiain @FlyWithIX & pvt carriers alone. Phase-5 will reach out to more stranded citizens from 1-31 August 2020,” Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri tweeted.  

Among other destinations, Ph-5 will connect India with USA, Canada, Qatar, Oman, UAE, Singapore, UK, Frankfurt, Paris, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, New Zealand, Philippines & more, he had earlier said. 

Meanwhile, national carrier Air India has already opened bookings for phase five flights including Australia, UK and US. “#FlyAI: Air India announces flights between India and Australia under #VBM Phase 5. Bookings will open on 29th July 1000 hrs IST through the website, Booking offices and our Authorised Travel Agents. More to Come!” the airline tweeted.  

“Announcing additional flights between India and the UK under VBM PHASE 5. Booking starts on 28th July 1400 hrs,” it had earlier said. 

The US-bound flights will operate from cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Chennai and Kochi. Moreover, the Air India Express also recently opened bookings for repatriation flights to UAE, which will operate from August 1 to August 15 under Vande Bharat Mission phase 5. 

“Between 22 July – 31 August, Air India will be operating 30 flights a week to the US (New York, Chicago, Washington, New Jersey and San Francisco), 4 flights a week to Germany (Frankfurt) and 3 flights a week to France (Paris),” MEA Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said in a recent media briefing. 
 
Furthermore, he also confirmed that as of July 22, over seven lakh Indians have returned to their home country under the Vande Bharat Mission. As on 22 July, 7,88,217 Indian nationals have returned. 1,03,976 Indians have returned from Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh by land borders. Ministry continues to be in touch with Missions on specific demands for repatriation from students completing their courses abroad, workers and other stranded Indians with compelling reasons.” 

Related: Fasten Your Seat Belts As India’s Bilateral Travel Bubbles With US & France Finally Takes Off