Coronavirus: 125 Bahrain citizens airlifted from Pune in special flight

Pune airport
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Pune, April 18, 2020: Amid nationwide lockdown when all domestic and international flights have been cancelled, an aircraft with 125 foreigners took off from the Pune International Airport in Lohegaon. This flight was of Bahrain which took back 125 Bahrain nationals who were stranded in Pune due to the Coronavirus outbreak lockdown.

Bahrain, officially the Kingdom of Bahrain, is a sovereign state in the Persian Gulf. The island nation comprises a small archipelago made up of 33 natural islands and an additional 51 artificial islands, centered around Bahrain Island which makes up around 83 percent of the country’s landmass. Many of their citizens had come to India for tourism, education and medical treatment.

Due to the increasing number of COVID19 patients in Pune, the citizens of Bahrain here were upset. They petitioned their country for help and the Bahrain government stepped in to help them. The authorities there contacted the central and state governments in India. The Union Ministry of Civil Aviation also played a key role in this.

The Bahrain embassy contacted their citizens in Pune three days ago and informed them of the flight and told them to be prepared. A Gulf Airlines flight landed at Pune airport at 3 pm and took off for Chennai and after picking some more citizens, it went back to Bahrain, informed Customs department Joint Commissioner Vaishali Patange.

Pune airport director Kuldeep Singh said that all passengers were screened for any symptoms. One passenger with high fever was referred to hospital. We had opened limited space for the passengers. The airport terminal building was sanitised properly before and after the departure of all passengers. The CISF personnel, Customs and Immigration officials were in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

“Under the leadership of our King His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa King of the Kingdom of Bahrain, His Royal Highness Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, Prime Minister, His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, we planned a special flight Gulf Air GF7753 to expatriate the nationals back home. Across India, we had 167 nationals in cities like Pune, Delhi, Chennai, Kochy, Hyderabad, and Mumbai. We began contacting them over the past two weeks and then decided upon Pune as it had the largest contingency of nationals (126), who were mostly students, followed by Chennai which has 42 nationals for medical services”, Hindustan Times newspaper quoted Ali Abdulla Al Noaimi, chargé d’affaires, Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain, New Delhi.