Udayavni Special

Vande Bharat mission: CIAL has received about 10,000 evacuees


PTI, Jun 2, 2020, 5:41 PM IST

Kochi: The Cochin International Airport (CIAL) here has received close to 10,000 evacuees since the Centre launched its Vande Bharat Mission in the first week of last month to bring home Indians stranded abroad due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an airport spokesman said here on Tuesday. He said the airport is gearing up to receive more flights from new sectors from Cairo in Egypt to Cebu in The Philippines.

Apart from the National carrier, many private airlines and chartered airlines have already approached the authorities to obtain necessary approval for operating evacuation flights to Kochi, the spokesman said in a release.

The Vande Bharat Mission had a head start in the country with the first airline touching down at Cochin International Airport on May 7.

Till May 31, the airport has handled 8,554 inbound passengers, a majority from the Gulf nations, the US and the European Union.

Air India and Air India Express together operated 48 flights.

Air India also operated stopover flights from San Francisco, Yerevan and Kiev.

The airport received 12 special flights operated by the national carriers of countries like Switzerland, United Kingdom, Maldives, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain.

They flew back to their countries with more than 1000 citizens or permanent visa holders who were stranded at Kochi Airport.

A chartered flight operated by Air Peace from Lagos, Nigeria evacuated 312 stranded Indians to Kochi.

According to the release, an Air India flight from the East African country of Djibouti will land at Kochi airport on June 5.

The National carrier will operate Vietnam-Bombay-Kochi flight on June 7, Cairo-Bombay-Kochi flight on 16th, Kiev-Delhi-Kochi flight on 19th, London- Bombay-Kochi flight on 22nd, and Cebu (The Philippines)- Bombay-Chennai-Kochi flight on June 23rd apart from their scheduled operations fromm the Gulf countries.

Since March 2020, the airport handled 205 international cargo flights which exported 4644.6 tons of cargo from Kochi.

CIAL also confirmed the operation of Air India express flights from Dubai, Kuwait and Doha today, carrying 540 passengers in total.

There will be flights from Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Dammam and Dubai on Wednesday.

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