Air India will shortly shift to direct ticketing to facilitate bookings abroad

The government plans to bring back 1,00,000 Indian nationals stranded in as many as 60 countries in the on-going second phase of the Vande Bharat Mission (VBM), said Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar.

Air India will shortly shift to direct ticketing to facilitate bookings abroad, the Minister said in his tweet after a review meeting of the VBM on Tuesday.

The meeting was attended by representatives from the ministries of External Affairs, Civil Aviation, Home Affairs and the Bureau of Immigration. “Focus of the meeting was to ramp up the scale of VBM and enhance its efficiency,” the tweet said.

An expansion in feeder flights and an increase in entry points were being planned by the Centre as it made preparations for the third phase, he added.

So far, 173 flights and three ships covering 34 countries have brought back passengers under the VBM launched on May 7. A total of 23,754 Indian nationals have been repatriated till May 22, as per MEA figures.

In the second phase, the government is including cities such as Istanbul, Ho Chi Minh City and Lagos, and increasing flights to the US and Europe.

Indians returning through land borders also started on Tuesday, according to Jaishankar. Arrangements being made for amnesty beneficiaries in the Gulf and naval evacuation of our fishermen in Iran will happen in June, he added.

The Centre is working with State governments for more efficient use of cumulative quarantine capacity, the Minister said.

Courtesy: The Hindu BusinessLine

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