Why Air India evacuating foreign nationals, asks Congress

Cheryl Sanders
April 5, 2020

News agency ANI reported that the Pakistan ATC had signed off with a "we are proud of you" message for the Air India crew who were operating the special relief flights during the global pandemic. The Captain thanked him for this response from Pakistan. "Earlier, Air India had ferried Israeli nationals to Tel Aviv as well in a chartered flight", it added. When Indian Flight entered the Flight Information Region of Pakistan, they were welcomed here and appreciated the work being done by Air India.

On the domestic front, the Air India Group has been transporting essential cargos throughout the country. "We are proud of you that in a pandemic situation you are operating flights, Good Luck!" the ATC said.

According to The Print, after the conversation, when the Air India captain informed the Pakistan ATC that he was not receiving the next radar for the Iran airspace, Pakistan communicated the Indian plane's position to the Tehran airspace and gave details of the two special Air India flights.

"In the absence of commercial flights, these first charter flights from India should provide relief to some of our British travellers who are desperate to return home, especially for the most vulnerable and those in greatest need", he said. Where commercial routes do not exist, the Government will provide up to £75 million to enable special charter flights to bring home United Kingdom residents. As the captain told news agency ANI, it had never happened before in his entire pilot career that the Middle East country had given a direct route of over 1000 miles.

The Air India official told NDTV that Pakistan ATC also saved the flight 15 minutes flying time by allowing them to fly closer to Karachi. An airline official said, "Oman Air and its people stand ready to help serve the nation in any way we can".

The captain revealed that after Iran, the AI special flights entered into the Turkey airspace and then Germany's. All crew members including the pilots wore the mandatory COVID-19 coveralls for over 20 hours at a stretch.

Spokespersons for SpiceJet and GoAir said bookings were open for travel on domestic flights from April 15 and for worldwide flights from May 1.

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