New Delhi: Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Saturday addressed a press conference and noted that at least 750 private domestic carriers, along with 300 Air India flights, will operate in the coming days as part of the ‘Vande Bharat Mission’ to bring back Indians stranded abroad. Also Read - International Flights: Want to Fly to UAE? Indians With Valid Work Permits Can | Know Here How
“Close to 2,75,000 Indians, who were stranded in foreign countries, have been brought back to the country in flights and ships during the lockdown,” Puri said. Also Read - Vande Bharat Phase 4 Ticket Prices: This American Airline Got Nod to Fly And Its Tickets Are Cheaper Than Air India
“Domestic private carriers have been offered to operate 750 repatriation flights in third and fourth phases of Vande Bharat Mission,” he added. Also Read - International Flights: Air India Flights From Dubai, Sharjah, Oman; More Domestic Flights From July 15 | Check Details
Dismissing rumours that international operations have opened, the Union Minister said any such suggestions or objection that India is the only country to not open up “needs a reality check”.
“The exact time when we will resume international flight depends on the other countries to be open to receive flights,” Puri said, and added, “In absence of a decision on resumption of international civil aviation, which will depend on other countries opening up, we are left with no option but to continue what I call evacuation and repatriation flights under managed and controlled conditions.”
Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola explained further and said that to resume any international flight operation, “both ends have to be ready and there has to be traffic”. He also said that the ministry may open up flights with North America on “case to case basis” as there has been significant air traffic on the route.
Flight services were shut at the end of March when the country went under a nationwide lockdown due to the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic. While domestic flights have resumed in India, international flights still continue only on emergency basis.