How 'Vande Bharat' mission is beating tough flight restrictions in COVID-19 era
New Delhi, Aug 07: The "Vande Bharat" mission, the largest global evacuation mission in well over a 30 years, by the Indian government to bring back stranded Indians in different parts of the world was a resounding success in the wake of the Coronavirus crisis.
Though the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the airline industry due to travel restrictions, Vande Bharat mission has been seamless in its execution, notwithstanding the umpteen adversities due to a lockdown, in most parts of the globe.
Nearly 9.5 lakh Indians stranded abroad have returned under Vande Bharat Mission so far, announced Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday.
The Mission has become the largest sustained operation of repatriation of stranded Indians.
"We are nearing 1 million-mark in Vande Bharat Mission making it the largest sustained operation of repatriation of stranded Indians. As on date nearly 9.5 lakh Indians has returned home under this mission," said Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava.
Airlines hit hard by coronavirus
The pandemic has pushed significant reductions in passenger and has resulted in flights being cancelled or planes flying empty between airports, which in turn massively reduced revenues for airlines and forced many airlines to lay off employees or declare bankruptcy. Some have attempted to avoid refunding cancelled trips in order to diminish their losses. Airliner manufacturers and airport operators have also laid off employees.
With COVID-19 cases hitting new peaks every day, travelling has become a big concern.
However, several countries gradually opening their air space and lifting lockdown restrictions, 'non-essential' travel is slowly gaining traction as major airlines ramp up their services in time for the peak holiday season.
India is implementing "travel bubbles" or air bridges between countries, allowing citizens to travel freely between specified nations. India has implemented a temporary reciprocal arrangement with the US, Germany and France and more countries like the UK and Canada will soon be added to the list.
Globally, the number of international flights to the U.S., Australia and Japan has fallen more than 80% from a year ago, while flights to China are down by more than 94%, according to aviation industry database Cirium.