Chennai: Air India said it has achieved a milestone of flying over one million passengers into and from India ever since it spread its wings to evacuate passengers and reach them home in the wake of the global shutdown due to the pandemic.
From the launch of the Vande Bharat Mission flights on 7 May, 2020, Air India has been flying relentless to and from all corners of the world carrying over 1 million passengers covering 74 destinations in 54 countries operating 7791 flights till date under the Vande Bharat Mission and Air Transport Bubble arrangements, the national flyer said in a statement.
Going by the sheer number of passengers and number of countries covered, this is one of the biggest evacuation exercise by any civil airline in the world. A further 1600 flights are planned till December 2020 which will add to the numbers, it said.
Air India had risen to the occasion to fly two Jumbo aircraft to evacuate stranded nationals from Wuhan in January, 2020, scripting probably the first medical evacuation flight of this magnitude. (After 1 February 2020, on 30 Oct 2020 an Air India aircraft will operate to Wuhan under the VBM).
“Since then, the saga of evacuation flights continues… Tokyo, Paris, Rome, Tel Aviv, Frankfurt, London and eventually to every corner of the world, where no Indian carrier has ever flown into. In spite of the challenges of a world numbed by the pandemic, Air India had mobilised all its resources to fly back Indians stranded all over the world and reaching people back to their home all over the globe. Responding to the felt need of passengers, Air India has ramped up its operations to countries like the UK, connecting London with several cities in India, like Cochin and Goa, which are witnessing heavy passenger surge,” it said.
Air India added: “In its pursuit to serve passengers, no frontier is beyond the reach of the National Carrier. It is set to launch flights to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia in November under the Air Bubble system.”
“Working closely with the Government under the Mission Lifeline UDAN, Air India has been ensuring that critical medical supplies and other essential items from overseas get to reach every corner of India. Besides, multiple flights are conducted across the world to distribute medical supplies to various countries.”