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Coronavirus: Air India Boeing 747 Rescue Flight to Wuhan

VT-ESP, Boeing 747-400

Latest Update: April 7, 2020 09:15 IST

Air India has won Million Hearts for Operating COVID-19 Relief Flights. Read More in our detailed article –

The Airline That Won A Million Hearts for Operating COVID-19 Relief Flights

India’s national carrier, Air India, operated a special relief flight today (January 31) to get back stranded Indians from Wuhan, China after the country has been affected with the infectious Corona Virus. Over 40 students and approximately 350 Indians will be airlifted from Wuhan to India after the deadly outbreak of Corona Virus in China.

Earlier today, Air India ferried a Boeing 747-400 aircraft registered VT-ESP (named after the famous Ajanta caves) from CSMIA, Mumbai to New Delhi IGI airport, and further to Wuhan. Air India has been a part of many such rescue operations in the past across different parts of the world such as Kuwait, Yemen, Syria etc.

It is believed that the airline’s relief flight to Wuhan had 5 pilots, 15 cabin crew, 5 doctors & 1 para medic professional onboard to deal with this health emergency. Also, a commercial team of 5 officers from the passenger handling team were on board the flight. The entire team on the trip to Wuhan today have been given full body suits to keep them protected during the relief operation. The aircraft departed from New Delhi at around 1252hrs, and landed in Wuhan at 19:30 local time. The aircraft is expected to reach Delhi by 02:00 hours on Saturday (February 1, 2020). Once the ~400 passengers land in New Delhi, they will be quarantined for 14 days in a special hospital set up by the Indian Army.

Playback Video

Watch the entire playback of the special charter flight of AI1348, courtesy Flightradar24

Air India Boeing 747 Relief Flight

Watch the video of AI1348 landing at Wuhan, China earlier this evening. Tweet Credit: ANI on Twitter

The national carrier once again comes to the rescue – this time to evacuate Indians from Wuhan, the site of the outbreak of coronavirus. This mission begins today with a Jumbo 747 operating between Delhi and Wuhan,” Air India Chairman and Managing Director Ashwani Lohani said in a tweet.

No service will take place on the plane. Whatever food is there will be kept in seat pockets. As there will be no service, there will be no interaction (between cabin crew and passengers). Masks have been arranged for the crew and passengers. For our crew, we have also arranged complete protective gear.” Mr. Ashwani Lohani in an interview to the PTI.

Update (2230 IST) – The first set of Indian citizens to take the flight AI1349 from Wuhan to Delhi will undergo an initial screening by the Chinese medical authorities. Then, they will be checked by the team of Indian medical authorities before boarding the flight back home.

Update (0000 IST, February 1) – The first batch of Indian citizens are on board the Air India Boeing 747-400 aircraft. The aircraft is expected to depart shortly from Wuhan, China. Image Source: ANI on Twitter

Update (0130 IST) – Air India AI1349 has departed from Wuhan airport at 0400 am local time (0130 IST) with 324 passengers on board. The flight is expected to be about more than 5 hours accounting the headwinds on the route.

Update (0730 IST) – AI1349 has landed back at New Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) at 0726 hours this morning. The return sector took about 5:54 hours according to the data from Flightradar24.

Air India Boeing 747 Relief Flight

Update (0945 IST) – A second Boeing 747-400 will leave from New Delhi today afternoon at 1250 hrs to Wuhan. This flight will be operated by a different set of crew, same doctors team on another aircraft. As yesterday, the rescue team is again headed by Captain Amitabh Singh, Director Operation, Air India.

Update (1100 IST) – 103 Indians amongst the 324 who reached New Delhi this morning from Wuhan have been taken to Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) Chhawla camp for medical observation. Remaining passengers will be taken to Indian Army Camp at Manesar in Haryana for examination.

Update (1330 IST) – The second Boeing 747-400 aircraft departed from New Delhi IGI Airport at 1337 hrs for Wuhan as AI1348. The aircraft is expected to land around 8 PM local time.

Update (2200 IST) – Out of the 324 passengers on the first Air India rescue flight who reached Delhi this morning, 104 are at ITBP camp and the remaining 220 are at Indian Army Camp in Manesar. Source: ANI

Update (2 February, 0600 IST) – Due to the challenging weather conditions at Wuhan, AI1349 has finally departed from Wuhan at 0552 hrs LT, almost 7 hours behind schedule. Once again, due to the heavy headwinds en-route, the flight is expected to take about 6 hours to reach New Delhi.

Update (2 February, 1000 IST) – AI1349 has finally landed at New Delhi IGI Airport after a flying time of 6:19 hrs. The flight touched down on Runway 28 at 09:40 hrs LT. Then the aircraft was given permissions to taxi to a remote stand besides the parallel runway 29.

Air India Boeing 747 Relief Flight VT-EVB
Air India Boeing 747 Relief Flight VT-EVB

Flight Cancellations/Service Reductions

Air India has already cancelled the Mumbai-Delhi-Shanghai flight (AI 348/349) from January 31 to February 14, 2020. Additionally, the flight operations between Delhi and Hong Kong (HKG) has been reduced to three days from January 31 to February 14.

Air India has always been to the fore of such relief flights time and time again. The national airline of India has helped Indians across the world during desperate times. A big salute to the team for taking up such operations and helping stranded country men! Jai Hind!

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