India will operate special flights starting today to bring its citizens in blockade-hit Qatar back to India, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said on Wednesday.
“All steps necessary for timely movement of our citizens from Doha will be ensured,” he said on Twitter.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj spoke to Minister for Civil Aviation Ashok Gajapathi Raju on June 19 to operate additional flights, primarily to cater to the Kerala sector as a large number of Indian nationals in the Gulf country hail from the State.
Swaraj asked Raju to operate additional flights “to Doha for Indian nationals who were not able to get bookings but needed to reach the country back from Doha.”
We'll operate addl. flights b/w Doha & Thiruvananthapuram, Cochin and Mumbai for our citizens not able to get tickets at Doha @SushmaSwaraj— Ashok Gajapathi Raju (@Ashok_Gajapathi) June 21, 2017
The Civil Aviation Minister said that all the necessary steps for timely movement of citizens from Doha will be ensured, adding that he is touch with Sushma Sawarj over the issue.
Jet Airways will run extra flights between Mumbai and Doha on June 22 and June 23, and Air India Express will operate flights between Kerala and Doha from June 25 to July 8.
Jet Airways will run an additional flight on 22nd and 23rd June 2017 between Mumbai and Doha— Ashok Gajapathi Raju (@Ashok_Gajapathi) June 21, 2017
Air India Express will operate an additional flight on Thiruvananthapuram-Doha and Doha-Cochin sectors from 25th June to 8th July 2017.— Ashok Gajapathi Raju (@Ashok_Gajapathi) June 21, 2017
While the Jet Airways plane is a 168-seater, Air India Express can accommodate 186 passengers Boeing 737.
It has been decided that three routes - Trivandrum-Doha, Doha-Cochin, Cochin-Trivandrum – will operate from June 25 to July 8, 2017 by Air India Express (186 seater).
India has been keeping a close watch on the situation after seven countries, including Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain cut off ties with Qatar. Due to this, there are fears that Qatar may run short on essential supplies as Saudi, which sends most of the supplies to Qatar, has closed its borders for traffic to and from the country.
Almost 6.5 lakh Indians live in Qatar, of which nearly 3 lakh hail from Kerala.