Dubai: Every third Indian repatriated from abroad due to COVID-19 was flown from the UAE, figures released by the Indian authorities on Thursday revealed.
They form over five per cent of the 3.4million Indian expats estimated to be in the UAE.
India’s Minister of Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri announced that nearly 690,000 Indians returned home from across the world ever since the country began its largest mission to repatriate stranded citizens from abroad. Of these more than 193,000 have been flown home from the UAE, according to figures with the Indian missions in the UAE.
More than 450,000 Indians in the UAE have registered for repatriation in the wake of the pandemic.
As per the latest updates, 43 per cent of those who have registered with the Indian missions in the UAE have been repatriated since the beginning of the Vande Bharat Mission on May 7.
More than 155,000 Indians were repatriated by flights approved by the Indian Consulate in Dubai while the rest of them were flown on flights approved by the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi.
While the Air India and Air Indian Express flights carrying out the special repatriation flights under the Vande Bharat Mission flew home around 31,000 Indians, charter services arranged by community organisations and corporate companies repatriated more than 122,000 Indians, according to the consulate.
A breakup of the VBM and charter flights approved by the Indian Embassy was not immediately available.
Meanwhile, it was also revealed that a quarter of Indians flown home by Air India and Air India Express under the Vande Bharat Mission (VBM) were from the UAE.
Rajiv Bansal, chairman and managing director of the Air India group, in a presentation during the press conference headed by Puri, announced that the national carrier and its low-cost wing together flew home 2,08,724 Indians from abroad.
Of these, 50,143 were flown by these two carriers from the UAE, figures up to July 13 released by Bansal showed.
A breakup of the flights and passengers showed a total of 28,220 people were flown from Dubai on 158 flights, while 15,583 others were flown from Abu Dhabi on 89 flights and 6,340 were repatriated from Sharjah on 37 flights.
Bansal also released the Air India group’s passenger figures on India-UAE special flights on the first two days of their service. As per the figures, only 884 passengers were flown from India to the UAE on July 12 and 13 by Air India and Air India Express flights.
While Dubai saw the highest number of arrivals from India with 505 passengers, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi flights flew in 270 and 109 passengers respectively, the data released by Bansal showed.