Third evacuation flight to K’taka lands in Mangaluru from Dubai

MANGULURU: The third evacuation flight to Karnataka landed in this port city, with 177 foreign returnees from Dubai in the UAE, an official said on Tuesday.

“The Air India Express IX 384 Boeing 737-8HG landed safely at the Bajpe airport on the outskirts of Mangaluru at 10.04 p.m., with 177 passengers from Dubai,” an airline official told IANS.

Mangaluru is about 360 km west of Bengaluru in the southern state off the Arabian Sea.

The state-run A-I Express is a subsidiary of national carrier Air-India airline.

Of the 177 returnees, 88 are men, 84 women, 5 children and 2 infants.

Among the women, 45 are pregnant while 25 are medical emergency cases.

“The passengers also included distressed expatriates, migrant workers, tourists and relatives who were stranded in the UAE for over 50 days since March 23 after international flights to and from India were suspended and the lockdown was extended twice till May 17 to contain the coronavirus pandemic,” said the official.

The Dakshina Kannada district administration officials and the A-I subsidiary staff received the returnees on entering the arrival lounge.

“All the passengers were given santizer to wash hands and told to wear the mask all the time and keep physical distancing as per the protocols,” said the official.

As per the standard operating procedure to be observed by all foreign returnees, the passengers were screened and tested to ensure they were asymptomatic and free from the COVID-19 virus.

After completing the formalities, including immigration check and filling the self-declaration form, the returnees were taken in state-run buses in batches for 14-day institutional quarantine in hotels and other places in the coastal city.

Passengers were told to download the mandatory Quarantine app, the Aroygya Sethu app and Apthamitra app before leaving the airport for contact tracing later.

The Dubai repatriation flight was the second to land on Tuesday night in the southern state over an hour after another A-I Express aircraft landed at Bengaluru airport at 8.56 p.m., with 177 returnees, including 42 belonging to Karnataka and 133 to Kochi in the neighbouring coastal state of Kerala.

The first evacuation flight to Karnataka from London landed in Bengaluru on early Monday, with 326 returnees, including three infants.

As part of the government’s evacuation programme ‘Vande Bharat Mission’, three more repatriation A-I flights are due to land in Bengaluru from Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, San Francisco in the US and Singapore on May 13-15 with over 700 state citizens.

“Another A-I Express flight is due to land in Mangaluru from Doha in Qatar in a day or two with about 180 foreign returnees,” the official added.