The first-ever repatriation flight exercise entitled “Vande Bharat Mission”, Air India Express Flight IX 452 brought 177 passengers and four infants from Abu Dhabi to Kochi Credit: Twitter image 

New Delhi: The in-flight announcement made by Air India Express Captain Anshul Sheoran, the commander of the first repatriation flight operated from Abu Dhabi to Kochi under the Centre’s Vande Bharat Mission, is winning hearts on the Internet.

Flight IX 452 carrying 177 passengers and four infants from Abu Dhabi to Kochi took off at 5.07 pm and landed at 10:09 pm on Thursday.

The entire operation was risky amid rising cases of COVID-19 aka novel coronavirus pandemic. To calm the atmosphere, Sheoran made the much-needed announcement to boost everyone’s morale.

Rather than the usual announcement of introducing the entire crew members and the route that the flight takes, the Captain expressed his pride to be a part of the first-ever “historic flight” in bringing our people home.

“You would have noticed my fellow crew members comprising Captain Razwin, Rianka Anjana, Tashi, and lead cabin attendant, Mr. Deepak and myself are all dressed in hazmat suits, as per the safety protocol, but we will still be wearing our warm smiles underneath,” he said.

Further instilling a sense of national pride in an effort to make the passengers feel comfortable, the Captain talked about their flight route which goes 35,000 feet above the Arabian Sea. Right below, Indian Navy ships are also engaged in a similar national effort to evacuate Indian citizens from countries in the region as part of Operation ‘Samudra Setu’.

“So as you can see, it is truly a national evacuation effort by air and sea that Air India Express is proud to be associated with,” he added.

The Captain did not fail to notice the religious and spiritual importance of the day as it was Buddha Purnima. As the whole nation awaits the return of their citizens, the captain stated that to be able to play a hand in this historic moment is indeed an honour.

“We are indeed honoured to fly this priceless mission under these challenging circumstances. Bringing back you all, our people back to our motherland,” he added.

A total of 64 flights will be in operation over 12 continents to bring approximately 15,000 stranded Indians due to the COVID-19 lockdown. Union minister for housing & urban affairs, civil aviation & MoS commerce & industry Hardeep Singh Puri took to Twitter to announce that the state government will arrange for their mandatory quarantine of 14 days.

Downloading the Aarogya Setu app is mandatory as well.

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