IndiGo to join Vande Bharat Mission

Indigo Airlines India

IndiGo will join the Vande Bharat Mission to repatriate Indians stranded overseas. This will be the first instance of a private airline joining an exercise that was a monopoly of Air India till date.

In a statement on Thursday, the country’s largest airline said that it has been authorised to operate 97 reparation flights between Kerala and the Middle East.

Adhering all the precautionary measures, the flights will be operated between Kerala and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Doha, Kuwait and Muscat. IndiGo has been granted nearly half of the total 180 repatriation flights allotted to private airlines.

“We had expressed eagerness to support the government’s repatriation efforts from the Middle East. These special flights offer an opportunity to leverage our network strength in the Middle East,” IndiGo CEO Ronojoy Dutta said in a statement.

The 97 repatriation flights will include 36 flights from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 28 from Doha, 23 from Kuwait and 10 from Muscat to Kerala.

The government had launched the Vande Bharat Mission in May to bring back Indians stranded overseas, since the national lockdown was imposed in March.

Till now, Air India and its unit Air India Express, had operated all the flights. In the first phase there were 64, and in the second 149 flights.

There were concerns among other airlines about Air India alone being asked to do repatriation flights.

Earlier on Thursday, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had mentioned that these flights had brought back 20,000 Indians till now.