India reports that over 1.7 million Indians have returned home through the 'Vande Bharat' evacuation mission launched by the Government of India since May 7th 2020.
Phase 7 of the mission kicked off on October 1st. 873 flights to 25 countries are scheduled in October. This phase includes flights from 14 countries via the 'air bubble' arrangement.
Recently, Lufthansa attempted to work out a plan to launch flights from India but negotiations with the Indian Government have failed. Prior to COVID-19, a number of travelers utilized Lufthansa’s direct flight from Detroit to Frankfurt to connect to airports in India. Delta too had flights connecting via Paris or Amsterdam. Now travel is possible only via Chicago, Boston, Atlanta and other airports.
Phase seven includes Air India and Air India Express flights, private and foreign carriers, chartered flights, naval ships and land border crossings. India has allowed flights to 24 airports across India. It is likely that the Indian Government will add more flights as demand grows.
Typically, December is a peak travel month for Michigan Indian residents to spend time with friends and family. Travel agents report very sluggish demand for tickets. Let us hope for relief in 2021.