A flight scheduled to bring back Keralites stranded in Qatar on Thursday (May 7) has been rescheduled to Saturday.
Only a flight from Abu Dhabi will be landing in Kochi on Thursday, a spokesperson for the Cochin International Airport Ltd informed on Wednesday.
The reason for the rescheduling is not known, the spokesperson said.
One flight from Abu Dhabi and one from Qatar (Doha) were scheduled to land in Kochi on Thursday as part of the first phase of 'Vande Bharat', the rescue mission to bring back Indians stranded abroad amidst the COVID-19 lockdown.
Manorama News reported that ticket sales for the AirIndia Express flight scheduled to leave Abu Dhabi at 4.15 pm on Thursday was on. The Indian Embassy there has selected 176 passengers in the priority list for the first flight. The passengers will be allowed to fly only after antibody test and thermal scanning at the airport. Those with symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed to board the flight, Manorama News reported.
Those who lost jobs, pregnant women, people whose visiting or employment visa have expired and elderly people will be among the priority group.
India has been under lockdown since March 25 to curb the spread of COVID-19. All scheduled commercial passenger flights have been suspended for this period. Consequently, thousands of Indian citizens are stranded abroad.
Cargo flights and special flights approved by the aviation regulator DGCA are allowed to operate during the lockdown period.
The repatriation flights would be conducted by Air India and its subsidiary Air India Express to repatriate Indians from 12 countries – the UAE, the UK, the USA, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman.