The recent announcement of an incoming flight from New Delhi to Auckland on Saturday, August 22 by the office of the Indian High Commission has once again raised hopes of several hundreds of Kiwis stranded in India to finally return home.
The New Zealand government, like most of the governments around the world, has been strictly controlling inward air traffic and the borders, which stand closed for everyone except residents and citizens since March 19.
This strict global travel restrictions have left thousands of Kiwis stranded in different parts of the world, including India, who despite having eligibility under current border-regime, still are unable to return back home in the absence of flights.
In the very beginning, New Zealand government had sent three repatriation flights (Air New Zealand) that roughly brought back only 600 Kiwis, leaving behind a large cohort of Kiwis who were stranded in distant regional centres in India posing logistical challenges for safe evacuation to central airports from where repatriation was planned.
However, subsequently, India launched its own global repatriation efforts sending its national carrier Air India under the Vande Bharat Mission to different parts of the globe to bring back home Indians stranded overseas.
As a part of this mission, the government of India had also allowed Air India to ferry foriegners stranded in India to theri respective foreign destinations, provided the host country allowed them entry.
It was during this extended nine-flights New Zealand leg of the Vande Bharat Mission that around 1550 NZ citizens and residents managed to return back home.
What will happen in this tenth flight coming to New Zealand from India is yet not known.
The Indian Weekender had sent an enquiry to the office of the Ministry of Foriegn Affairs and Trade (MFAT) to get an update if Kiwis stranded in India will be allowed to return back home on this flight.
A response was awaited at the time of publication of the story.
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