MUMBAI: National carrier Air India has crossed a historic milestone of flying over one million passengers to and from India on its Vande Bharat Mission flights which began in May, over a month after the government banned international scheduled flight movements.
Till date the airline has operated 7,791 flights which covered 74 destinations in 54 countries under the Air Transport Bubble arrangements.
“Going by the sheer number of passengers and number of countries covered, this is one of the biggest evacuation exercise by any civil airline in the world. A further 1,600 flights are planned till December 2020 which will add to the numbers,” said Air India in a press statement issued on Thursday.
Aviation observers though have pointed out that these flights cannot be called “evacuation” flights for a number of reason, the prime one being that the airline sells air tickets for these flights.
Early this year though, Air India had operated evacuation flights, when it flew to Wuhan in January to medically evacuate Indians stranded there. The airline is set to operate another flight to Wuhan on October 30, but this time, under the Vande Bharat Mission which was launched on May 7.
“In spite of the challenges of a world numbed by the pandemic, Air India had mobilised all its resources to fly back Indians stranded all over the world and reaching people back to their home all over the globe. Responding to the felt need of passengers, Air India has ramped up its operations to countries like the UK, connecting London with several cities in India, like Cochin and Goa, which are witnessing heavy passenger surge. In its pursuit to serve passengers, no frontier is beyond the reach of the National Carrier. It is set to launch flights to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia in November under the Air Bubble system,” said the airline.
“Air India’s bravehearts comprising pilots, crew, engineers, groundsmen had been out of their home and homeland to bring their countrymen home or reach foreigners home in a selfless act – universally acknowledged,” said Air India.
Source From : Times Of India