Advises stranded citizens to take Air India flights instead.
With few takers for its repatriation flights to the US from India, Uncle Sam has ended its charter flights and advised stranded citizens still interested in returning home to fly Air India instead.
US missions in India have repatriated 5,500 US citizens since India stopped all commercial flights in mid March, but demand for evacuation flights in the last few weeks dwindled as the US became the epicenter of coronavirus pandemic.
“The US Mission has closed the online registration system for US persons interested in returning to the United States, due to declining demand,” the US embassy in New Delhi announced Wednesday.
“There are no further US government charter flights scheduled or planned to evacuate US persons from India at this time,” it said urging US persons wishing to return to the US to strongly consider available commercial flight options.
With India launching its biggest ever evacuation exercise to bring back its stranded citizens from around the world, the embassy advised US persons to take advantage of Air India flights bound for US.
All US persons including Indians with US visas, permanent US citizens and Overseas Citizen of India (OIC) card holders are eligible to travel on these flights.
Interested travelers should contact Air India directly regarding these flights, the embassy said noting no curfew passes from the Embassy or consulates are required for these flights.
As in the first phase, India is running seven more flights to bring back stranded Indian nationals from the US in the second phase of the Vande Bharat mission with 149 flights from 31 countries. India brought back over 12,000 Indian citizens from 12 countries on 56 flights in the first phase of the mission.
READ: Seven more flights for Indians stranded in the US (May 19, 2020)
Meanwhile, India Wednesday announced resumption of domestic passenger flight operations in a calibrated manner from May 25, two months after imposition of the world’s biggest national lockdown.
“Domestic civil aviation operations will recommence in a calibrated manner from Monday, 25th May 2020,” Indian Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri tweeted. “All airports & air carriers are being informed to be ready for operations from 25th May,” he wrote.
However, there was no word yet on the resumption of international flights. Ministry of Home Affairs’ guidelines for lockdown 4.0 prohibit all domestic and international air travel except for domestic medical services, domestic air ambulance and for security purposes.