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UAE-India repatriation Day2 blog: 2 flights depart for Chennai on Friday

Dhanusha Gokulan (Principal Correspondent)
dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com Filed on May 8, 2020 | Last updated on May 8, 2020 at 01.33 pm
UAE coronavirus , Wuhan, Covid-19, China, warning, travel, Coronavirus outbreak, lockdown, pandemic, Combating coronavirus, UAE new cases, recoveries, repatriation, repatriation flights, india,

(CGI on Twitter)

Special repatriation flights carrying almost 356 stranded passengers departed today.

After a successful day one, the journey home for stranded Indian citizens continued into Friday. Two more special repatriation flights, carrying stranded passengers departed today.

The first flight to Chennai was delayed to take off at 8pm instead of 2.45pm, a Consulate official had told Khaleej Times. The second flight is scheduled to depart at 8.15pm today.

A few passengers were not informed of the change in timings and turned up at the airport as early as 11 am to the Dubai International Airport Terminal 2.

Some passengers, including a pregnant school teacher,Prathipa Rajadurai, had travelled all the way from Ajman with her husband Sabareesh Durairaj. However, it is only when they reached the airport, they realised the flight has been delayed. Prathipa said, "I am five months pregnant. I have cancelled my visa, and I want to go back home to deliver my first baby." Sabareesh hopes the crisis will subside in two months and he can join her. He said, "Eventually, I will bring them back."

India on Thursday launched a massive repatriation operation for distressed citizens with two flights that carried 363 people from the UAE to Kochi and Kozhikode. Distressed passengers including medical cases, pregnant women, workers who suffered job losses were among the first to be in the return flight home.

Khaleej Times journalists track the historic Vande Bharat Mission:

9.00pm

Second flight lX 540 also departed from DXB on Friday night, carrying 177 Indians.

8.00pm

Eight lucky passengers booked a last-minute seat on the first Chennai flight of the night. Flight IX 612 is carrying 179 Indians.

7.30pm

The third flight from UAE is all set to depart for Chennai from DXB.

4.10pm

According to a tweet by the CGI, the flight timings have been revised with flight IX612 now at 1900 hrs (7pm) and IX540 at 2015 hrs (8.15pm) to Chennai taking more than 360 passengers.

3.40pm

Indian residents arrive at the Dubai International Airport for the third and fourth repatriation flights back home today.

Over 350 distressed Indian citizens await to undergo the IgG/IgM tests at the DXB Terminal 2 ahead of their flights to Chennai. Two Air India Express flights will take off to Chennai later tonight.

The CGI tweeted: "We have almost 200 workers, 37 pregnant women and 42 medical cases on the Chennai flights. Rest are elderly people, stranded tourists and families of those travelling."

1:30pm

Indian identical twins Jackson and Benson Andrews, who have been stranded inside the Dubai airport for 50 days, have safely reached Kozhikode.

12:50pm

Prabhakaran Subramanyan, a passenger on the first repatriation flight to Chennai from Dubai at 8pm, arrives with his friends at the Dubai International Airport Terminal 2 on Friday.

12:37pm

With the change in flight time from Dubai to Chennai, now taking off at 8pm instead of 2.45 pm, friends and family of passengers begin the long wait at Terminal 2. The second flight to Chennai is scheduled at 9pm.

12:21pm

The first flight to Chennai, has been delayed to take off. A few passengers were not informed of the change in timings. Some passengers, including a pregnant school teacher, Prathipa Rajadurai, had travelled all the way from Ajman with her husband Sabareesh Durairaj.

However, it is only when they reached the airport, they realised the flight has been delayed. Prathipa Prathipa said, "I am five months pregnant. I have cancelled my visa, and I want to go back home to deliver my first baby." Sabareesh hopes the crisis will subside in two months and he can join her. He said, "Eventually, I will bring them back."

11:12am

Sabarinathan and Veeramani, two blue collared workers, who had registered on the Indian Consulate portal for emergency repatriation said they haven't been selected for travel yet. However, they are hoping they would be in the coming flights to Chennai. Sabarinathan said, "I work in a shop in Deira. I am worried, I will get sick. My wife is also pregnant." Veeramani has similar concerns.

11: 00am

"Even in these extraordinary times, their response to the call of duty and the determination of this AirIndia Express crew on the Abu Dhabi-Cochin flight, is exemplary," said India's civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri.

10: 50am

Jeyaprakash Chinnappan, 34, one of the first passengers to reach the airport is returning home since he lost his job due to the Covid19 Coronavirus pandemic. A technician in the construction industry, Chinnappan decided to register himself on the consulate website. He said, "There is no job on the sites. I have been simply sitting in our accommodation. It is better to go back to India. Maybe, if I find a job, I will come back to the UAE."

author

Dhanusha Gokulan

Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for over ten years. For Khaleej Times, she covers NRI affairs, civil aviation, and immigration issues among other things. She completed her BA in Journalism, Economics and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008 and is currently pursuing her MA in Leadership and Innovation in Contemporary Media at the American University in Dubai. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves food, and is mom to an over-enthusiastic Labrador retriever. Tweet at her @shootsprintrite.





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