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India allots 68pc Covid repatriation flights to GCC countries

NEWS DELHI, March 6, 2021

The biggest slice of the ongoing phase of repatriation flights for Indians affected by Covid-19 disruptions worldwide (known as the Vande Bharat Mission) has been set apart for the GCC countries, accounting for 68 per cent of the total flights, reported Wam, citing a senior official.
 
The latest phase of these repatriation flights began on March 1 and will last untill March 28, stated Anurag Srivastava, the spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). 
 
More than 1,350 international flights are scheduled to be operated from 28 countries in this phase, enabling an estimated 260,000 Indians to travel home.
 
Of these, nearly 920 flights are from GCC countries, said Srivastava. "Until Thursday, about 6.15 million Indians from all over the world have been repatriated, a large bulk of them owing to Coronavirus disruptions since the Vande Bharat Mission flights began on May 7 last year," he revealed.
 
These repatriation flights comprise Indian government owned carriers, Indian private airlines, foreign carriers, chartered flights, naval ships and land border crossings, said Srivastava. 
 
India presently has bilateral air bubble arrangements with 27 countries including five GCC states.
These are temporary arrangements between two countries aimed at restarting commercial passenger services when regular international flights are suspended as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. 
 
India is yet to resume regular international commercial flights which were suspended early last year during a lockdown, he added.



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