Ukraine crisis: Air India plane enroute to Kyiv called back
New Delhi, Feb 24: An Air India plane that took off for Kyiv in Ukraine on Thursday morning to bring back Indians from the eastern European nation is returning to Delhi due to the closure of Ukrainian airspace amid the Russian military offensive.
After the Air India flight had departed from Delhi on Thursday morning, the Ukrainian authorities issued a NOTAM (Notice to Airmen), which stated that flights of civil aircraft within Ukraine "are restricted due to potential hazard for civil aviation".
Air India and the central government then decided to call back the plane to Delhi, officials said, adding that the plane took an about turn in the Iranian airspace to return to Delhi. An airline spokesperson said the Air India flight AI 1947 is returning as a NOTAM has been issued at Kyiv. The flight started from the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) here at around 7.30 am for Boryspil International Airport in Kyiv.
Meanwhile, a Ukraine International Airlines flight from Kyiv landed at the Delhi airport at around 7.45 am on Thursday. "There were 182 Indian nationals onboard the flight and majority of them were students... A couple of more flights have been scheduled,"
Anju Wariah, Director at STIC Group, said. The group is the General Sales Agent (GSA) for Ukraine International Airlines in India. After weeks of rising tensions, Russia on Thursday announced a military operation against Ukraine. Air India's Thursday flight was scheduled to be the second flight to bring back Indians from the eastern European nation. The first flight, operated on February 22, brought back around 240 people. On February 19, Air India announced that it would operate three flights between India and Ukraine on February 22, 24 and 26.
Meanwhile, the Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) carrying 182 Indian nationals landed at the Delhi airport on Thursday at around 7:45 am, ANI reported.
"A special flight of Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) landed at Delhi Airport from Kyiv, at 7:45 am today, with 182 Indian citizens, including students," an official of Ukraine International Airlines in India told ANI on condition of anonymity. The special flight mostly had students.
In the wake of the Ukraine crisis, several airlines are operating special flights, including Air India, to airlift Indian nationals safely.
"Ukraine International Airline, the first special evacuation flight touched down today at 07:45 hours at Delhi Airport bringing in 182 Indian National mainly students studying in different universities in Ukraine," Anju Wariah, GSA representative of the UIA in India told ANI.