The revised schedule announced on Saturday by Air India (AI) and Air India Express (AIE) shows that only 25 flights under the Vande Bharat Mission (VBM) will repatriate stranded Indians from the UAE in the third phase of the mission from June 9 to 23.
This includes the first-ever repatriation flight to the state of Maharashtra, an Abu Dhabi-Mumbai flight on June 11. Fourteen flights will depart from Abu Dhabi while the rest will be from Dubai.
While the number of flights has come down compared to the second phase, according to Gulf News, the airlines will abide by the new guidelines to ensure more protection to passengers.
According to the figures available from the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi, around 6,100 Indians were flown home on 11 flights from the UAE capital in one month. The Embassy said a total of 2,681 workers were also repatriated by their employers on 15 charter flights.
Altogether, only about six percent of the 400,000 (about 12 percent of the total number of Indians in the UAE) who have registered with the missions for repatriation have been repatriated in the past one month.
Most of the charter flights being arranged by community groups are to the state of Kerala, which had recently stipulated that those flights cannot charge more than the fares on the special repatriation flights operated by the government.