Multiple applications frustrate efforts to fly stranded Indians home

Air India flight leaves Auckland on June 7, 2020 at 130 pm

Venkat Raman
Auckland, May 20, 2020

Air India does not operate regular flights to New Zealand

A large number of stranded Indian nationals appear to have registered multiple times on the Wellington based Indian High Commission website (https://www.hciwellington.gov.in/) for their return home, frustrating the efforts of the officials of the Mission.

An Air India flight (AI 1307) is scheduled to depart from Auckland International Airport on June 7, 2020 at 130 pm bound for New Delhi.

The aircraft is scheduled to arrive in Auckland (as AI 1306) on June 4, 2020.

Passengers travelling  to India, selected by the Indian High Commission, must purchase the tickets, details of which will be communicated individually.

Vande Bharat Mission

The 72-hour stopover would suggest the time required for layover of the flight crew and completion of various formalities. Air India does not operate regular services to New Zealand.

It is not known if the aircraft would fly non-stop to New Delhi or transit enroute.

It is however likely to bring New Zealand citizens and permanent residents stranded in India. This segment is being controlled by the New Zealand High Commission based in New Delhi.

It is not known if Immigration New Zealand would allow to any temporary visa holders (such as work and student visas) to board this flight from India.

The Indian government has been arranging for the return of thousands of Indian nationals stranded in various parts of the world especially from countries that experience a high incidence of Covid-19, especially USA, Canada and Europe.

Called, ‘Vande Bharat Mission’ (Welcome to India), this is a massive operation, which requires coordination with hundreds of departments and agencies of the federal and state governments in India and overseas governments and agencies.

Thousands of officials are working round-the clock to make this ‘Returning Indians Programme,’ work efficiently but their work is not often not appreciated by people.

Flight to Delhi

A few ‘potential travellers’ from New Zealand said that they had registered their names twice or thrice providing a local address in New Delhi, hoping to be allowed to board the flight.

The Indian government had indicated that people living in New Delhi and in places ‘reachable by approved means of transport’ will be giving preference, triggering multiple applications.

Parmjeet Singh, Second Secretary at the Indian High Commission said that the Mission will finalise the list of passengers based on several criteria.

“In view of the high demand, selection of passengers will be based on their need to travel. We will prioritise those under compelling circumstance to return to India,” he said.

Mr Singh said that expectant mothers who are between 32 to 35 weeks pregnant must obtain a health certificate from an authority (invariably a General Practitioner) acceptable to the Government of India.

“All passengers must follow the procedures, including health protocols prescribed by the New Zealand government prior to departure and by the Indian government during the journey and on arrival in India,” he said.

Mr Singh said that possibilities of operating domestic flights to reach people to various major destinations in India are being explored by the concerned authorities.

Other stipulations
The offer is open to Indian nationals who are stranded in New Zealand
They must register on the website of the Indian High Commission
Passengers with the most compelling circumstances will be given priority
Shortlisted passengers will be contacted through email for booking tickets on pre-payment
Failure to purchase tickets within 24 hours of email communication will lead to forfeiture
Passengers must make their own arrangements to reach Auckland Airport at least four hours before the departure of the flight
They must undergo medical screening at the time of boarding the flight and only asymptomatic passengers will be allowed to travel.
All passengers will be required to handover a signed Undertaking cum Indemnity Bond before boarding the flight.
All passengers on arrival in India will be medically screened and must download and register on Arogya Setu App.
Mandatory quarantine for 14 days on arrival in India in facilities as per the protocols of the federal and state governments
If essential, they must under go, Covid-19 test after 14 days and further action as deemed fit
Compulsory completion of Self Reporting Form to be presented at the Health & Immigration Counter on arrival in India
Mandatory compliance with the protocols and procedures including Health Protocols issued by the Government of the New Zealand on departure and by Government of India before during the journey and after arrival in India.
Outbound passengers travelling from India to New Zealand can book their seats on the Air India website or through Air India Call Centre on 1860-233-1407/0124-264-1407/020-2623-1407.

New Zealand Citizens, Permanent Residents and those permitted by Immigration New Zealand, who wish to travel from India to New Zealand may register at https://register.safetravel.govt.nz/login

Further information and clarifications from vandebharat.nz@gmail.com

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