Dubai: Praise continues to pour in for the crew members of the historic first Indian repatriation flights on Thursday from the UAE.
The inflight announcement of the captain of the Abu Dhabi-Kochi flight, the onboard celebration of the crew members, including a former Sharjah student, on landing in Kochi and the hero’s welcome accorded to the crew members of the Dubai-Kozhikode flight on the same day have gone viral on social media.
India’s Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Friday tweeted a video of the crew onboard the Abu Dhabi-Kochi flight, the first of India’s massive COVID-19 evacuation operation named Vande Bharat Mission.
“Even in these extraordinary times, their response to the call of duty & the determination of this Air India Express crew on the Abu Dhabi-Cochin flight, is exemplary. Kudos to their spirit & dedication,” the minister wrote in the tweet.
Captain Anshul Sheoran was on command with the first officer as Rizvin Nasser, who is also a former Sharjah Indian School student who was proud to be among the crew of the evacuation flight from the UAE where his family lives.
The cabin crew team comprised Deepak Menon, Anjana Johny, Santhosh Riyanka and Bhutia Tashi.
They successfully flew 181 passengers in distress including 49 pregnant women, four infants and patients suffering from critical illnesses like brain tumour and renal failure.
“We are going home” -Captain’s viral announcement
The Indian minister also shared an audio clip of the captain’s patriotic inflight announcement which has gone viral on social media.
“Listen to Capt. Anshul Sheoran make this memorable inflight announcement on the first #MissionVandeBharat flight which brought back Indians from Abu Dhabi to Kochi on the Air India Express flight last night,” he tweeted.
Here is the script of his announcement:
“Welcome aboard your own airline, Air India Express”
“It is a great honour for my team and I to fly you on this very first evacuation flight IX452 as part of the massive airlift operation Vande Bharat Mission commencing today to bring home our citizens under these special circumstances.”
“As you may be aware, all domestic passenger flights in India continue to remain grounded.”
“While we fly at 35,000ft above the Arabian Sea, down below, on the surface of the sea, our Indian Navy ships are engaged in a similar national effort to evacuate our citizens from countries in the region as part of Operation Samudra Setu.”
“So as you can see it is truly a national evacuation effort by air and sea.”
“You would have noticed my fellow crew members comprising captain Rizvin, Riyanka, Anjana, Tashi and lead cabin attendant Mr. Deepak and myself are all dressed in hazmat suits as per the safety protocols.”
“But we will still be wearing our warm smiles underneath and as always, will do everything to ensure your comfort and safety.”
“On your part, please do respect and follow the safety guidelines as you enjoy this unique flight.”
“We all are part of this historic first flight which is incidentally taking place on the auspicious day of Buddha Purnima and it is a proud moment for all of us at Air India Express that we were able to reach out to you in these difficult times.”
“I know that your family, loved ones and even the whole country awaits our return eagerly. So let’s keep our morale high — We are going home!”
“We wish you an early and happy reunion with your families and dear ones for Ramadan… and true to the Air India Express tagline “Simply Priceless,” we are indeed honoured to fly this priceless mission under these challenging circumstances, bringing back you all—our people back to our motherland. Jai Hind!”
Onboard celebrations, hero’s welcome
In another an onboard video, which went viral on social media showed the pride, patriotism and happiness of the crew of the Abu Dhabi-Kochi flight celebrating their achievement by shouting “Hip, Hip, Hurray” and “Jai Hind” onboard after they landed.
Wearing PPEs including light blue coveralls, masks and protective plastic face shields, they are seen introducing themselves and sharing their pride.
Air India Express shared another video on its Facebook page which showed the crew members of the Dubai-Kozhikode receiving a warm welcome with loud applauses at the Kozhikode International Airport.
The crew comprised Capt. Michale Saldanha on command with first officer Akhilesh Kumar and cabin crew members Vineet Shamil, Abdul Rouf, Raseena. P and Rijo Johnson.
As they walked into the airport after landing, the crew members, who were in PPE during the flight, are seen in their regular uniforms with just masks for their protection.