The 6th phase of Indian government’s largest repatriation exercise Vande Bharat Mission will begin from today. The phase which would run till 24 Octoberwould see operations of additional flights connecting several unserved destinations. Based on an assessment of demand by missions abroad, flight schedules of Air India group and private carriers have been prepared.
During the 6th phase, Air India would operate over 145 flights between India and the US. During this, it will cover Delhi-New York, MumbaiNewark, Delhi-Washington DC, Delhi-Chicago and Delhi-San Francisco routes. Some of the other crucial destinations which would be covered in this phase include Vancouver, Toronto, London, Shanghai and Chicago. Meanwhile, aviation regulator Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has extended the ban on international commercial flight operations till 30th September. Only special charter flights, Vande Bharat flights and travel bubbles will be allowed to continue. India has so far established air bubbles arrangements with the US, UK, France, Germany, UAE, Qatar, and the Maldives and negotiations are underway with Australia, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Nigeria, Bahrain, Israel, Kenya, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand.
The government data show that during the 5th phase of this mission which ended on 31 August, 900 international flights operated around 22 countries reaching 23 airports across India. More than 10 lakh stranded Indians have been repatriated so far. Earlier, the government had launched the Vande Bharat Mission from 7 May 2020 to bring back Indian nationals stuck in various countries due to the Covid restrictions.