Dubai: Two more repatriation flights to Goa will leave from Dubai on June 21 and 25 respectively, Air India has announced.
Special flights that will depart Dubai at 12 noon will arrive at the Dabolim airport in Goa at 4.40pm. The flights are being operated as part of the Vande Bharat Mission to repatriate stranded Indians from the UAE, said a spokesperson of Air India. Both flights will be ferrying 149 passengers each and priority will be given to those registered for repatriation with the Indian missions in the UAE.
According to a UAE resident Vishanti Coutancar, who has been working with the Indian consulate, the flights were arranged after hectic parleys with all the coordinating agencies on heavy demand from Indian expatriates from the Indian state of Goa.
The first direct repatriation flight to Goa under the Vande Bharat Mission flew out on June 1 from Dubai. Since Goa has been in the green zone as far as the incidence of COVID-19 is concerned, most Goans were unwilling to fly to neighbouring cities of Mumbai and Pune, both of which have a high incidence of infection. These new flights will accommodate most of the Goan expatriates who have been requesting for these for a long time.
“The last repatriation flight to Goa had gone full and there were still several expectant mothers, senior people, people on expired visit visas and those who were facing job losses. These flights will come as a great relief to these stranded people,” said Coutancar.
She added that people who were looking forward to flying back to Goa could still register on the website https://www.nri.goa.gov.im/nri-asst-form-html and https://cgidubai.gov.in.All
As per the protocol, passengers will have to arrive at the airport at least four hours earlier, wear masks and gloves and use hand sanitisers while travelling. Those flying out will be subject to COVID -19 screening at Dubai Airport and will also have to undergo a second test upon arrival at Goa airport.
Each passenger will have to undergo a 14-day mandatory quarantine even if they test negative. These 14 days will be divided - 7 days at a hotel, expenses of which will be borne by the passenger, and 7 days at home.
Upon arrival at the Dabolim International airport in Goa, each passenger will have to download the Indian health app Arogya Setu and register themselves. Those who do not have an Indian SIM card will be able to purchase these at the airport and register to make contact tracing easier later, in case a person is found positive. It will also help the health authorities keep in touch with these passengers once they are quarantined. Without following these protocols no one will be allowed to leave the airport.
The flight dates are subject to approval and clearance of the local authorities.