Mumbai/New Delhi: Private carriers Jet and Kingfisher joined the process of evacuating Indians in strife-torn Libya from where a total of 1,045 people were ferried home by Air India aircraft in three batches on Wednesday. (Agencies)
While Air India has sent three more planes to Tripoli on Wednesday Jet and Kingfisher will be flying to Djerba in Tunisia and Alexandria in Egypt respectively to bring back the Indians.
Since February 26, the national carrier has operated seven flights -- six from New Delhi and one from Mumbai – and successfully ferried 2,128 people from the troubled North African nation, where a civil war against the four-decade old regime of President Muammar Gaddafi looms large.
Wednesday’s first special flight (AI-160) carrying 259 passengers landed here at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI) at 1:45 AM, an airport official said.
The second flight (AI-170) with 391 Indians on board arrived at 6 AM while the third one (AI-180), carrying 395 passengers landed at 6:45 AM the official said.
"The three special flights -- two Boeing 747 and one Airbus 330 planes -- took off this morning from IGI airport here and they would be landing back either tonight or sometime early morning tomorrow," an Air India official said.
These flights are expected to ferry back around 1,002 passengers. The three daily flights to Tripoli were likely to continue over the coming days.
Following instruction from the government to operate one flight to Libya to evacuate Indians, Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines have decided to operate three special flights to that country.
Jet Airways would operate two Boeing 737-800 aircraft from Mumbai to Djerba in Tunisia for evacuation.
"The airline would operate a 170-seater Boeing 737-800 special flight each on March 3 and March 5 to Djerba, located in the Gulf of Gabes, off the coast of Tunisia, as per the directions of the Ministry of External Affairs," an airline spokesperson said.
Around 1,400 persons have reached Djerba where Indian Embassy personnel from Tunis have housed them in local hotels.
Flight JAI 8060 would depart Mumbai at 1600 hours on Thursday and arrive Djerba at 0420 hours (local time) the next day. On the return leg, flight JAI 8062 would depart Djerba at 0520 hours (local time) and arrive Mumbai at 2010 hours the next day.
Similarly, on March 5, flight JAI 8064 would depart Mumbai at 0900 hours and arrive in Djerba at 2120 hours (local time and on the return leg, flight JAI 8066 would depart at 2220 hours (local time) and arrive Mumbai at 1310 hours the next day.
Schedules and destinations in Libya were being chalked out in consultation with the Ministry of External Affairs as lot of Indians were scattered in various cities in that country.
With a large number of people reaching Egypt from Benghazi and other Libyan cities, the Kingfisher Airlines would operate special flight, an Airbus 321 with a seating capacity of 196, from New Delhi for Borg-el-Arab airport in Alexandria in Egypt.
"The flight would be leaving Delhi tomorrow at 1.30 AM," an airline spokesperson said.
Earlier, a senior Ministry of External Affair official said that nearly 33 per cent of Indians would be pulled out of Libya by tomorrow, as the latest evacuation would take the number of those either brought back or taken to safe destinations to 6,177.
Mumbai/New Delhi: Private carriers Jet and Kingfisher joined the process of evacuating Indians in strife-torn Libya from where a total of 1,045 people were ferried home by Air India aircraft in three batches on Wednesday.