Vande Bharat Mission: Hong Kong bans Air India flights citing COVID-related issues
The Hong Kong authorities have banned the Vande Bharat repatriation flights to and from India. The decision has reportedly been taken due to some Coronavirus-related issues with the flights coming from India, as reported by news agency ANI.
The Delhi-Hong Kong-Delhi flight which was scheduled for today had already been cancelled yesterday due to the restrictions imposed by the Hong Kong authorities, All India Radio had reported in a tweet.
Amidst the ban on international travel due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Union Civil Aviation Ministry has started the Vande Bharat mission, under which it is operating repatriation flights to back Indian nationals stuck in different parts of the world.
According to figures provided by the Civil Aviation Ministry, more than three thousand repatriation flights have operated under the Vande Bharat Mission so far, bringing back over 3.3 lakh passengers stranded in different parts of the world and helping over 1.4 lakh passengers travel out of the country. The mission is presently under its fifth phase which will continue until the end of this month. Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said that the phase 6 of the Vande Bharat Mission will commence from September 1 as part of which more countries and cities will be connected to help the Indian nationals.
#FlyAI : #ImportantUpdate
Due to restrictions imposed by Hong Kong Authorities,
AI 310/315, Delhi – Hong Kong – Delhi of 18th August 2020 stands postponed. Next update in this regard will be intimated soon. Passengers may please contact Air India Customer Care for assistance.
— Air India (@airindiain) August 17, 2020
The beneficiaries of the mission include Indians who lost their jobs in foreign countries and remained uncertain of their future. Indian students who are studying abroad also constitute a huge chunk of passengers as they want to come back in view of the closure of all educational institutions. Apart from the Vande Bharat mission, the Indian government has also established air bubbles with many countries under which nationals from both countries would be able to travel to and from the other country.