The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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A-I plans to evacuate 2,000 a day

Mumbai, March 22: More than 2,000 Indian nationals will be evacuated daily from Kuwait by Air-India “if everything goes according to plan’’.

As 422 Indians arrived at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Airport early this morning from Kuwait, the airline announced it would continue its normal services to Bahrain, Dammam and Kuwait “as long as airports in these cities remain open’’.

An official statement said evacuation flights are expected to begin shortly and will operate on a round-the-clock-basis.

Air-India spokesman Jitender Bhargava said the national carrier expects evacuation to continue for about a fortnight. Four aircraft will be pressed into service for the purpose. “Approximately 2,000 Indians will be evacuated each day,’’ Bhargava said.

The alternative routes, which will be followed by all airlines operating flights between South-East Asia and Europe, have already been drawn.

Three alternative routes have been planned for an aircraft if it cannot or is not able to fly over Iran. While the first covers Oman-Bahrain-Saudi Arabia, the second covers Oman-Yemen-Saudi Arabia and the third Yemen-Djibouti-Sudan-Jeddah-Egypt.

Air-India authorities have stepped up security in and around the international terminus here. Apart from a larger number of security personnel at the airport, a control cell has been set up to help passengers contact the airline if any flight to a Gulf destination is cancelled or delayed.

The airline authorities said they were monitoring the Gulf region.

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