India mulls resumption of passenger flights from UAE

The country’s lockdown prompted by the coronavirus pandemic ends on April 15

India is considering resuming incoming flights to bring its nationals in the UAE back home, according to the Civil Aviation Ministry.

It said on Thursday that passenger air connections with the UAE may be resumed soon after India’s three-week lockdown prompted by the coronavirus pandemic ends on April 15, reported Emirates news agency WAM.

“Any incoming flights to bring Indians back home will have to await the lifting of the lockdown,” Hardeep Singh Puri, the Minister for Civil Aviation.

“The lockdown is till April 15. And, we can start considering the resumption of flights on a case-by-case basis depending on where they are coming from after that,” he said.

India had banned all scheduled international commercial passenger flights from landing in the country starting from March 22.

The move had come two days before its domestic lockdown and was taken to curb the spread of the virus from incoming passengers who may be infected.

“Unless the lockdown is extended, the Ministry of Health will decide which all countries are safe enough to allow people to fly from into India starting April 15,” Civil Aviation Secretary P.S. Kharola added.

Moreover, Air India announced it will operate 18 flights to evacuate foreign nationals, including some from the GCC, who are stuck in India because of air traffic disruptions as a result of Covid-19.

The airline’s chairman Rajiv Bansal said, “These flights out of India will be carrying their citizens. On the way back to India, the aircraft will not have any cargo or any passenger.”

Some Gulf airlines continue to operate inbound and outbound cargo flights to India.

Prime Minster Narendra Modi said the lockdown helped limit infections, but that the situation remains “far from satisfactory around the world,” he was quoted as saying, and that there “could be a second wave of the pandemic.”

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