Hyderabad, May 9 (IANS) As part of the process to evacuate Indians stranded in various countries, an Air India flight from Kuwait with 163 passengers on board landed at Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Airport on Saturday night.
Air India flight AI 988 from Kuwait landed at 10.07 p.m., airport sources told IANS.
This is a part of the ‘Vande Bharat Mission’, the biggest-ever evacuation of Indian citizens stranded in various countries due to Covid-19 lockdown.
After the completion of immigration and other formalities, the passengers will be transported to designated locations in the city for a mandatory 14-day quarantine period as per the rules framed by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Telangana government in coordination with the Ministry of External Affairs, various Central agencies and the airport authorities made special arrangements to handle the arrivals as per the standard operating procedure (SOP) issued by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.
Sources said that all arriving passengers and aircraft crew were brought out from the aircraft in a batch of 20-25. Each passenger was screened by the thermal cameras positioned at the aerobridge exit by airport health officials as per the directives of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare prior to immigration formalities.
After the health screening of passengers, Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel wearing protective gear escorted the group of passengers to immigration clearance desk.
Sources said that every baggage was sanitised by passing them through the disinfection tunnel integrated to the baggage belt.
Glass shields were provided at each manned immigration counter to avoid any personal contact between the passengers and immigration officers. Each counter had specified social distancing norms in place.
The passengers were also provided seating arrangements with complimentary boxes of food.
After the immigration clearance, the passengers in batches will be escorted to a hall where the Telangana government officials will brief them on the mandatory 14-day institutional quarantine they have to undergo at their cost as per the orders of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
The officials in coordination with various hotels in the city have already prepared different packages for a 14-day stay to suit the budgets of different travelers. They will be asked to choose their package and transport arrangements will be made accordingly.
Officials said that those who can’t afford the stay in hotels will be accommodated in government-run quarantine facilities.
The Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) has arranged buses to transport the travellers to the hotels or quarantine centres.
To facilitate the arriving passengers and the aircraft crew, the airport authorities kept the international arrivals and the entire stretch right from the aerobridge to the arrival ramp fully sanitised and fumigated.
“Every nook and corner of the building and public areas including washrooms, chairs, counters, trolleys, railings, doors, lifts and escalators were sanitised. The airport also enforced social distancing among the passengers right from the aerobridge to across the terminal,” sources said.
This was the first of the seven evacuation flights to land at the Hyderabad Airport over the next few days.
A Telangana government official had earlier said that a total of 2,350 stranded Indians from six countries will be reaching Hyderabad by seven flights.
Under the Vande Bharat Mission, which began on May 7, the government of India is operating 64 flights till May 13 to bring home nearly 14,800 Indian nationals stranded abroad.