International travel of over 20 lakh facilitated since May 6, asserts Centre

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The Centre has facilitated the repatriation and international travel of over 20 lakh people through different means since May 6, said Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Thursday. Addressing a media briefing, Puri said that under the Vande Bharat Mission, 17,11,128 people have travelled back to India and 2,97,536 people have travelled out of India.

Speaking about international travel, Puri informed that Centre has formalized air bubble arrangements with 16 countries like USA, Canada, France, Germany, UK, Maldives, UAE, Qatar, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Japan, Nigeria, Kenya, Iraq, Bhutan and Oman. He added that the government is in discussion with Italy, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and others for similar arrangements.

Puri further said that domestic operations were started in a calibrated manner with 33 per cent capacity of the approved summer schedule w.e.f. May 25, enhanced to 45 per cent from June 26 and 60 per cent from September 2. More than 1.2 crore domestic passengers have flown since May 25. 1,56,565 passengers travelled on 1525 flights today.

LIFELINE UDAN: Lifeline Udan was launched to transport experts and equipment to every corner of the country (NER, hilly and island states) during Covid-19 lockdown. Airlines operated 588 flights, flew more than 5 lakh kilometres and transported about 1000 tons of essential cargo. The airlines delivered testing kits and medical equipment to remote locations when movement by all other modes of transport was restricted.

Huge support was received from IAF, State Governments and Administrations of Union Territories. Further, 1928 tonnes medical cargo brought by Air India from foreign countries. 30 tonnes Medical cargo was supplied to friendly foreign countries (Mauritius, Seychelles and Sri Lanka).

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UDAN–DRIVING THE GROWTH OF REGIONAL AVIATION SECTOR: UDAN scheme was launched for affordable regional connectivity. 766 Routes were awarded after 4 rounds of bidding under UDAN out of which 284+ Routes have been operationalized connecting 105 airports. 50 UDAN Airports (incl. 5 heliports) developed & operationalized in 3 years as against 76 airports before.

4.8 million passengers have already benefitted from the Scheme.~30 States / UTs have signed MoUs as partners in the Scheme and offered concessions and incentives. Following are some of the key features of the scheme:

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