First flight to Jammu and Kashmir takes off

Muscat: The first flight to Srinagar took off from Muscat International Airport with 157 passengers including four infants at 1.45pm as part of the ongoing repatriation programme which started on May 9.

The AI 1974 Muscat-Srinagar flight which arrived at 6.10pm at the Srinagar Airport forms part of the Phase 2Plus of the Vande Bharat programme which aims at bringing back the citizens in the wake of the Covid-19 impact worldwide.

The people onboard included stranded visitors who arrived on short visit, elders as well as pregnant women and people needing medical assistance.

As many as 4,000 Indians including some 300 infants reached home in the past three weeks since the government of India allowed the national carrier to fly the citizens home from the Sultanate.

Ever since the first flight flew from Muscat to Kochin on May 9, the repatriation mission has sent nearly 4,000 passengers home with more in the waiting list.

“We have been able to send Indian nationals home only with the support of the authorities of the Sultanate of Oman, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the ROP, the Airport Authority and all concerned,” said Munu Mahawer, the Ambassador of India to the Sultanate of Oman.

The embassy had announced 15 more flight services as part of the Phase 2Plus between May 28 and June 7, 2020 to various Indian destinations as part of the repatriation programme, ‘Vande Bharat’.

The ticket fares were borne by the passengers and air tickets were issued only to short listed persons. All passengers are required to confirm acceptance of all conditions of travel, including quarantine requirements in India as well as health requirements in order to board the flight.

The Jammu and Kashmir flight service will be followed by a flight from Muscat to Bhubaneshwar in Odisha, and Muscat to Kerala city of Kannur on Tuesday.

Other flight services carrying Indians to various cities of India are:

04-Jun-20 Muscat – Kochi (Kerala)

04-Jun-20 Muscat – Trivandrum (Kerala)

07-Jun-20 Muscat – Chennai (Tamil Nadu)