Vande Bharat: Doha-Thiruvananthapuram flight cancelled

Vande Bharat Mission
Indias arrived at the Hamad International Airport in Doha to board the Doha-Thiruvananthapuram flight, which was cancelled on Sunday afternoon.

Air India cancelled its flight from Qatar's capital Doha to Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday.

The flight was expected to bring home 181 persons from Qatar, including 15 pregnant women, as part of India's Vande Bharat mission to bring back stranded Indians from abroad.

Thiruvanathapuram District Collector Gopalakrishnan said the flight did not get permission to land at the Doha airport. "The flight has been rescheduled to Tuesday. Timing will be confirmed later," he told reporters.

Following the permission denial, the onward flight did not take off from the Kozhikode International Airport.

The flight was scheduled to take off from Doha at 6:30pm India Time and land at Thiruvananthapuram at 10.30pm.

Thiruvananthapiram airport officials had completed all arrangements to receive passengers when it received information about the flight cancellation.

This was the first flight to Thiruvananthpuram since the Indian government launched the Vande Bharat Mission four days ago. Earlier, flights had carried Indians to Kochi and Kozhikode International Airports.

The flight cancellation has put many pregnant women and seriously ill persons who needed immediate medical attention in deep trouble.

All the passengers arrived at the Doha airport at 11:30am, but they were not allowed to check-in. "I reached airport at 11:30am itself, but I was not allowed to check-in. Indian embassy officials did not inform us about the cancellation. I came to know about it when I got a call from home in Kerala," Revathy, as passenger, told Manorama News Television.

Another flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, is scheduled to arrive in Kochi on Sunday night.

Earlier on the day, Indian Navy vessel INS Jalashwa,carrying 698 repatriated Indian citizens from the Maldives, arrived at Cochin Port, completing the Navy's first massive evacuation exercise from foreign soil during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The group comprises 595 males and 103 females. Of this, 14 are children below 10 years and 19 pregnant women.

Though most passengers are from Kerala and Tamil Nadu, there were repatriates of 18 other states and Union Territories also in the ship, which began its journey from Male to Kochi on Friday night.

Early on Sunday, a flight carrying 183 Indians from Doha had landed at Cochin International Airport.

So far, 7 flights have arrived in Kerala as part of the mission from UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, and Qatar.

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