Dubai: Malabar Gold & Diamonds has chartered a special flight operated by Air Arabia from Sharjah to Calicut, Kerala on June 4, carrying at least 171 staff and their families, including 25 children.
The initiative was part of the group’s plan to repatriate around 500 team members and their families to Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and West Bengal, the company said in a statement sent to Gulf News on Friday. The organisation noted it will charter five to six more flights.
‘We gave priority to the elderly, team members with pre-existing health concerns, team members with family, and those who have been terminated or have opted for extended leave to be with their families in India on these chartered flights,” said Abdul Salam KP, Group Executive Director of Malabar Group
Shamlal Ahamed, managing director - International Operations of Malabar Gold & Diamonds, added: “We wanted to provide a safe and speedy passage, made possible with the support we received from the Indian Consulate in Dubai, to our team members and their families during these difficult circumstances.
“I would also like to thank the prompt support provided by the concerned authorities in India especially Ministry of External Affairs and Government of Kerala. The team from Sharjah Airport Authority and Air Arabia helped create all the necessary arrangements including COVID-19 rapid testing at the airport at such short notice,” he added.
In the same statement, Vipul, Consul General of India in Dubai, said: “I am happy to see the initiative by Malabar Gold & Diamonds to charter a flight to send back employees and their families to India.
“There are several Indians in UAE who want to go back and I request them to have patience as the Government of India is taking necessary steps to gradually increase the number of flights to go back,” he added.
Malabar Gold & Diamonds said it has rolled out corporate sustenance plan last month to keep the businesses afloat, including closure of underperforming stores and reduction of capacity, manpower and salaries.
The group said it is scheduled to open 18 stores across India this year to provide opportunities for team members terminated from international operations.