India will operate a number of special flights for Indian citizens from Qatar which is under travel and trade boycott from Gulf countries. The flights will be operated by Air India and some private carriers to Doha, Qatar from Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram and Mumbai in India.
Civil Aviation Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said in a tweet: “All steps necessary for timely movement of our citizens from Doha will be ensured. I and @SushmaSwaraj ji are in touch on this issue.”
The minister said Indians in Qatar are not stranded in any way and that several of them have not been able to secure bookings on flights due to heightened demand caused by the blockade. There are around seven lakh Indians who live in Qatar.
Air India’s special flights will run between Kerala and Doha while those between Doha and Mumbai will be operated by Jet Airways. The flights will be operated from June 25-28.
Earlier this month, seven countries, including Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Bahrain, had boycotted Qatar and banned use of their airspace for any flight that flew from or was meant to land in Qatar. After some time, the embargo was revised. The ban was restricted for only Qatar operators.
The trade and travel boycott on Qatar was imposed by the countries based on several differences. Some of the accusations included Qatar’s alleged support to fundamentalists and extremists. The country was accused of turning a blind eye to terrorists and not doing enough to prevent terrorism in the region. Qatar is one of the more popular destinations for Indians who go abroad for employment and a large section of the population is from the healthcare and infrastructure sectors.