Air India will operate 70 flights in the third phase of Mission Vande Bharat to evacuate Indians stranded in the US and Canada between June 11 to June 30, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said.
Puri wrote on Twitter, "More flights being added to Mission Vande Bharat to enable stranded and distressed Indians to return home. Air India will operate 70 flights to destinations in USA and Canada under Phase 3 of the Mission from 11-30 June 2020".
Air India brought 3,891 people from Dubai, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Muscat, Bahrain, Salalah, Moscow, Kiev, Madrid, Tokyo, Dhaka, Bishkek, Almaty, Riyadh and Dammam on June 1 .
More than 50,000 stranded and distressed Indian citizens have been evacuated under the Vande Bharat Mission. The government plans to evacuate another 100,000 by June 13.
Air India will be operating additional repatriation flights to six countries between June 4 and June 6 to bring back stranded Indians from US, New Zealand, the UK, Sweden, Germany and South Korea.
The national carrier said it will operate Delhi-Auckland flight on June 4, Delhi-Chicago flight and Delhi-Stockholm flight on June 5. It will run Delhi-New York flight, Delhi-Frankfurt flight, Delhi-Seoul flight, Mumbai-London flight and Mumbai-Newark flight on June 6.
Meanwhile, the government has been receiving overwhelming requests to restart outbound international flights, the civil aviation minister said.
On which Puri clarified that, "Several factors need to be addressed. Many international destinations are not allowing incoming passenger traffic, except for their own citizens or diplomats".
Puri further added that, "MHA guidelines for lockdown 5.0 have further opened up inter and intra-state travel, will facilitate calibrated reopening of the sector. As we move towards the critical mass of 50-60% operation of domestic flights, our ability to resume international operations will also improve".
Vande Bharat Mission was launched on May 7. In the first phase of the mission from May 7 to 15, Air India and its subsidiary Air India Express operated 64 flights to bring back around 15,000 people from 12 countries.