Indian Civil Aviation Minister, Hardeep Singh Puri said international flights under Vande Bharat Mission facilitated repatriation and outbound travel of more than 16.25 lakh people from different countries amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“Mission of hope and happiness. International flights under Vande Bharat Mission, in addition to other modes, facilitate repatriation and outbound travel of more than 16.25 lakh people from different countries. We continue to reach out to more every day,” Puri said in a tweet.
According to the Ministry, 4,170 people returned on September 13, 2020.
The Vande Bharat Mission started in early May to evacuate Indians stranded abroad due to coronavirus-induced travel restrictions. Under the mission, more than 2.2 million passengers have been flown home.
The Air India group alone has operated a total of 3,588 flights carrying 590,000 passengers from different locations until October 19.
Regular international flights have been suspended since March 22 because of Covid-19.
The government has also created temporary travel bubbles, or reciprocal arrangements with other countries, under the Vande Bharat Mission. India has put in place such arrangements with 13 countries, including France, Germany, the United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Japan, and the United States. Private carriers, too, have been allowed to fly special flights in these air bubbles.