Panaji (Goa) [India], April 9 (ANI): A special flight of Titan Airways carrying 330 stranded British nationals, including 312 adults and one infant, departed from Dabolim Airport in Goa on Wednesday evening.
The flight was specially arranged by the British embassy to evacuate the stranded citizens due to a lockdown imposed by the Centre as well as the state government to contain the rapid spread of coronavirus infection.
The 19th relief flight, en route to Stantec in the UK, departed from Goa International Airport at 10:00 p.m. after the passengers filled the self-declaration form mandated by the Government of India in view of the lockdown measures, and were thermally checked at the airport, Goa Airport Director Gagan Malik told ANI.
"We are going to have two more flights in the coming four days. There is also the intimation that we may have 3-4 more flights in the coming next week. So this process is continuing. I must admit that this is the sheer teamwork of the Goa International Airport wherein our operation's team, housekeeping and engineering staff, and all others have put their hands together," Malik said.
"The Goa state government is also helping them to come to the Airport as these flights depart usually in late nights. We have also made sitting arrangements, food and water facilities for those passengers coming early outside the terminal building," he added.
After one flight departs, the process of disinfecting the terminal gets started, Malik noted, adding that the airport authorities are trying to maintain "a semblance in balance" where all passengers are pre-secured and pre-sanitised before boarding any flight.
The manner in which special flights are evacuating British citizens one after another, it seems as if "we'll cross the figure of 4,000 by the next two flights," he said.
"The Goa International Airport is working 24/7. Anybody can contact us at any time," the Airport director added further.
In a video message on Twitter, acting UK High Commission to India, Jan Thompson, late last month, had asked stranded British nationals to ensure that they are ready with their passports and travel documents ready for departure. She said that the timings and departure locations of the flights from India will be announced in the coming days.
The state has so far registered six cases of coronavirus, out of which one has recovered and will be discharged soon, according to medical officers. While, India, as a whole, has recorded 5,734 cases of the contagion, including 166 deaths, as per reports compiled by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Thursday. (ANI)