Civil Aviation Minister, Hardeep Singh Puri handed Letters of Appreciation to 68 members of the Air India staff who were involved in the evacuation operation conducted to rescue stranded Indians in Wuhan. These letters of appreciation were issued by Prime Minister Modi. Pradeep Singh Kharola, Secretary of Civil Aviation, Rajeev Bansal, the current Air India CMD and Ashwani Lohani, Ex Air India CMD were present at the felicitation along with senior Aviation ministry officials.
In order to appreciate the efforts of the Air India team, Civil Aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri said,"We are proud of the intensive commitment shown by the Air India team to bring home their countrymen in spite of very trying conditions in the epidemic-hit Wuhan." He further went onto say, "I feel proud to confer the appreciation of our Prime Minister expressed through personal letters to all those who had been part of this historic mission. I heartily thank all of them once again for their service to the nation."
The team conducting these operations was headed by Captain Amitabh Singh and comprised 8 pilots, 30 cabin crew, 10 cabin crew members and 1 senior officer. Air India carried out an emergency rescue operation in Wuhan on January 31,2020 and February 1,2020. Air India sent 2 423-seater B-747 aircrafts to Wuhan consecutively for two days.
Earlier this month, Indian Ambassador to China Vikram Misri had said that the operations to rescue Indians stranded in Wuhan was a 'logistical nightmare' as it had to be done in a region that was sealed from all sides. In this rescue operation, around 647 Indians and 7 Maldivians were evacuated from the Novel coronavirus-hit Wuhan.