India-UAE to operate repatriation flights!

As stated by the Ministry of Civil Aviation on Twitter, India has agreed to let the United Arab Emirates (UAE) operate charter flights to bring back stranded Indians from the Gulf nation and carry UAE citizens back from India between 12-26 July.

A charter flight is an unscheduled flight that is not part of a regular airline routing. With a charter flight, one can rent the entire aircraft and can determine departure/arrival locations and times according to the needs.

UAE has additionally consented to let Indian carriers operating repatriation flights to the Gulf nation carry back its residents stranded in India.

However, only the UAE government’s Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) approved residents will be allowed to take flights back to their country.

The flights will only carry passengers to UAE and not beyond.

Meanwhile, India suspended all scheduled international passenger flights on March 23 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Many passengers have used social media to demand the resumption of international passenger flights from India to the UAE and other foreign countries.

International commercial air passenger services — barring repatriation, cargo, and special flights — remain suspended in India till 31 July.

After nearly two months of suspension to combat the coronavirus outbreak, the government resumed scheduled domestic passenger flights on May 25. However, it had then allowed the airlines to operate the maximum of 33 percent of their pre-COVID flights. The MOCA increased the limits on June 26 from 33 percent to 45 percent.

Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on June 20 said that the government will think about the resumption of scheduled international passenger flights in mid-July, when it expects the domestic air traffic to reach 50-55 percent of the levels before the coronavirus.

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