UAE: Chartered Flights Allowed to Repatriate Stranded Indians

Image Credit: Consulate General of India, Dubai
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India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation on Tuesday announced Standard Operating Protocol (SOP) for private aircraft and charter flights to repatriate stranded Indians and certain categories of Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Gulf News, only those registered with the Indian missions in the flight’s country of origin can be carried on the flight.

Afi Ahmed, managing director of Dubai-based Smart Travel, said he would be applying for NOC to charter around 40 flights on behalf of various Indian community groups and companies in the UAE.

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He said the airlines he had been discussing with were looking at an average rate of Dh1200 to Kerala.

Tickets to Kerala are priced around Dh725 on the special repatriation flights of Air India and Air India Express under the Vande Bharat Mission.

The ministry said the SOP to facilitate the movement of stranded Indian nationals and certain OCI card holders follows an order dated May 24 by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) permitting international charter operations and operations by private aircraft to bring back stranded Indian nationals to lndia.

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It pointed out that the MHA in another order dated May 22 had also allowed certain categories of OCI Card holders to return to lndia.

However, the Indian Consulate in Dubai on Sunday, May 24, had issued a public notice warning Indian nationals in the UAE against a potential scam pertaining to chartered repatriation flights.

The mission said the Indian government had not accorded approval for any such chartered flights at that time.
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