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Passengers arrive at Kochi International Airport on an an Air-India flight, as part of the government's 'Vande Bharat' mission to bring home stranded Indians from various foreign locations. Image Credit: PTI

Kochi: A special repatriation flight carrying 103 Indian nationals, including four infants and four pregnant women, arrived in Kochi from San Francisco, United States, on Monday morning under the ‘Vande Bharat’ Mission.

India launched the second phase of ‘Vande Bharat Mission’ from the US on May 19 under which Air-India is expected to operate seven flights in all to bring back countrymen from the US. These will be a repeat of the same cities as part of the phase-one evacuation drive as flights will originate from San Francisco, Washington DC, Chicago and New York. However, the onward and final destinations will not remain the same.

A total of seven flights will be a part of the second phase break-down of evacuation sorties. Two flights are scheduled to depart from San Francisco, one from Washington, two from Chicago and two more from New York.

In the first phase, 1,200 Indians are scheduled to fly back to India on seven flights operated by Air-India. The phased evacuation of its citizens from the US was initiated by the Indian government on May 9.

After the second phase of evacuation, apart from Air-India, other commercial carries may be allowed to land at Indian airports.

“We brought back more than 30,000 stranded Indians on Vande Bharat flights since 6 May, 2020. We flew 917 tonnes of medical and essential cargo on Lifeline UDAN flights since 26 March 2020. Today, we restart domestic flights. India’s civil aviation is always on the forefront,” Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri tweeted on Monday. 
Officials told ANI: “There may be a phased reopening of commercial flights post the second phase [of evacuation].”

Meanwhile, another Air-India repatriation flight from Doha, carrying 146 stranded Indian nationals, arrived in Gaya, Bihar, on Monday morning.

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Indian nationals arrive at Gaya International Airport as part of the Indian government's efforts to bring home stranded citizens from around the world. Image Credit: PTI

“AI-972 took off from HIA [Hamad International Airport] this evening for Gaya with 146 passengers. This is the ninth flight from Doha as part of #Vandebharat, bringing the number of repatriated passengers from Qatar to 1,520, plus 45 infants,” the Indian Embassy in Qatar had tweeted on Sunday.

The flight took off from Doha at 6pm (local time).

This was the ninth flight from Doha as part of the Indian government’s second phase of ‘Vande Bharat’ mission to bring Indian nationals back home from various foreign countries who have been stranded due to the lockdown over the coronavirus outbreak.

Air-India flight from Sydney to evacuate 3 Nepali nationals

Kathmandu: Air-India flight AI-301 from Sydney later on Monday will bring three Nepali citizens, with one of them needing to undergo a bone marrow transplant at a Delhi hospital, sources at the Ministry of External Affairs said.
The repatriation flight is expected to touch down in Delhi at 6.35pm (local time), the sources added.
“The Embassy of Nepal in Australia had requested for this evacuation. It is a case of a bone marrow transplant. The patient, along with his brother (donor) and father (caretaker), will be taken directly to the BLK hospital in the national capital kept in quarantine at the hospital itself. All the three have COVID-19 negative certificates and also have fit-to-fly certificates, along with the local hospital’s acceptance letter,” they added.
At least 225 passengers, including two infants, are set to be flown back to India on this particular flight operated under the Government of India’s ‘Vande Bharat’ Mission.
The flight bound for Ahmadabad will be carrying 11 passengers who will land in New Delhi, including the Nepali citizens.
‘Vande Bharat Mission’ initiated by the Government of India to evacuate Indian nationals from overseas locations has brought more than 30,000 Indians back home amid a worldwide lockdown over the COVID-19 pandemic.