Air India repatriates nearly 67,000 Indians, as complaints about high ticket rates continue

Air India and its subsidiary Air India Express have so far ferried 66,831 Indians from overseas on 365 flights, as part of its repatriation drive.

Another 17,180 passengers have travelled on 369 outbound flights by the national carrier to various foreign countries, civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Monday.

Air India opened bookings on Friday, for around 300 flights to various countries like the USA and the UK, under the third phase of its Vande Bharat Mission. The airline faced an overwhelming demand for tickets, which were sold out in no time, forcing it to increase the number of seats.

However, not all passengers are happy. The exorbitant ticket rates have been a concern for many. Some flyers have said the airline is trying to take advantage of the situation.

Minister Puri has countered these arguments saying that civil aviation operations cannot but reflect the costing. “Normal operations are different from evacuation operations. Aircrafts have to be parked for up to 40 hours on long haul routes before the return journey during Vande Bharat Mission. There are other costs involved as well,” he said.

“Please remember that unlike special charter, Air India is charging these fares for scheduled flights and earning revenue both ways,” he said.