US citizens, permanent residents, OCI card holders eligible to fly.
As India launched a massive exercise to bring back its stranded citizens from a dozen nations, foreigners stuck in India were advised to take advantage of flights to ferry them home.
India’s national carrier Air India has opened bookings on the special ferry flights for Americans, US permanent residents, Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) and citizens of 11 other nations.
Starting with a Delhi-Singapore flight Thursday, Air India and its subsidiary Air India Express will operate 64 ferry flights from May 7 to 15 to bring back 14,800 stranded Indians as part of its ‘Vande Bharat Mission.’
Air India will send seven flights to the US starting with a Delhi-San Francisco flight on Friday. There will be one more flight from Delhi to San Francisco, two to Chicago and one each to Newark and Washington. There will be a lone Mumbai-Newark flight on May 9.
READ: Covid-19: Stranded Americans in India reluctant to return (April 29, 2020)
In addition to the US, there will be ten flights to the UAE, seven to the UK, five each to Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Kuwait and Philippines, two flights each to Qatar, Oman and Bahrain and one each to Malaysia, Bangladesh.
US embassy in India which has currently given a pause to its own repatriation flights to the US Thursday advised US persons to take advantage of the Air India flights to return home.
“We advise US persons interested in returning to the US that Air India has announced a series of commercially operated evacuation flights departing from India to international destinations, including the US, to evacuate stranded Indian citizens,” it said in a travel advisory.
“We understand that US persons are eligible to travel on these flights,” the embassy said asking intending travelers to contact Air India directly regarding the flights.
The embassy hopes its own repatriation flights “will commence next week and will again depart from Mumbai and New Delhi to Atlanta and San Francisco.”
The embassy which has so far repatriated 5,500 travelers from across India to the US had given a pause in “order to assess ongoing demand and determine what degree of assistance may be needed as the authorities lift lock-down restrictions.”
Air India has made it clear that the entire cost of travel will be borne by the passengers.
The airline said it would only allow nationals from 12 countries, including the US, Indian nationals with at least a one-year long visa for these destinations, Green Card and OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) cardholders and Health workers with a valid permit for travel to destination countries to book flights.
The airline has also specified that passengers must ensure that they comply with all travel and health requirements of the country of destination.
Additionally, at the time of boarding the flight, they will have to undergo thermal screening as per health protocol and only asymptomatic travelers would be allowed to board the flights.
Here is the Air India Evacuation Schedule – Ex India (in local time)
|May 08||AI 173||DELHI||3:30||SAN FRANCISCO||7:00||777LR||3/31/186|
|May 09||AI 191||MUMBAI||1:30||NEWARK||7:55||777ER||4/21/294|
|May 10||AI 0127||DELHI||2:20||CHICAGO||7:25||777ER||4/21/294|
|May 11||AI 103||DELHI||1:15||WASHINGTON||7:15||B787||0/14/229|
|May 12||AI 173||DELHI||3:30||SAN FRANCISCO||7:00||777LR||3/31/186|
|May 13||AI 191||DELHI||1:45||NEWARK||7:35||777ER||4/21/294|
|May 14||AI 0127||DELHI||2:20||CHICAGO||7:25||777ER||4/21/294|