489 return in 2 flights, more airlines step in
On Monday, the fifth Air India flight landed in Delhi from Bucharest with 249 Indian nationals while the sixth flight arrived from Budapest with 240 nationals, people familiar with the matter said.
Two Air India flights on Monday brought back 489 more Indian nationals from war-hit Ukraine, as more private carriers — SpiceJet, IndiGo and Air India Express — stepped in to speed up the evacuation process.
India on Saturday began the evacuation of its citizens via Romanian capital Bucharest and Hungarian capital Budapest — countries sharing borders with Ukraine — as the Ukrainian airspace has been closed since February 24 when the Russian military offensive began. So far, Air India has evacuated 1,396 Indian nationals in six flights.
On Monday, the fifth Air India flight landed in Delhi from Bucharest with 249 Indian nationals while the sixth flight arrived from Budapest with 240 nationals, people familiar with the matter said. Air India will operate two more flights to Budapest on March 1.
Besides, SpiceJet, Air India Express and IndiGo will operate special flights from Hungarian capital Budapest and Romania’s Bucharest on Monday and Tuesday to evacuate Indians stranded in Ukraine.
“SpiceJet will operate a flight to Budapest, Hungary to bring home Indian nationals stranded in Ukraine. The airline will use its Boeing 737 MAX aircraft for this special flight. The aircraft will fly to Budapest from Delhi and the return flight will operate via Kutaisi, Georgia...,” said SpiceJet spokesperson.
SpiceJet’s aircraft was scheduled to take off as a ferry flight at 10.30 pm on Monday and land at 7.05am, and is expected to land in Delhi at 1.45pm on Wednesday.
Air India Express said it will operate a Bucharest-Mumbai flight on Monday night with 182 stranded passengers and land Mumbai on Tuesday morning” after 182 passengers. “The flight will depart Bucharest on Monday evening and will land in India at 9.30am on Tuesday. It will have a stopover at Kuwait for refuelling,” the airline spokesperson said.
IndiGo said it is operating will be operating four additional flights -- two flights each will be operated from Delhi to Budapest, Hungary and to Rzeszow, Poland via Istanbul, respectively. These aircraft will depart Delhi on March 1. “These flights are being operated from Delhi to Bucharest in Romania and Budapest in Hungary via Istanbul, Monday, as part of the Indian government’s Operation Ganga mission.”