Indian government has been desperately making efforts to evacuate Indian nationals stranded in war zone of Ukraine.
An Air India plane on Saturday departed from the Mumbai airport for Romanian capital Bucharest to evacuate Indians stranded in Ukraine due to the Russian military offensive.
The aircraft, AI1943, took off from the Mumbai airport around 3.40 AM (Indian Standard Time) and landed at the Bucharest airport around 10.45 AM (Indian Standard Time), senior government officials said.
The flight, AI1943, took off from the Mumbai airport around 3.40 am. Indian nationals who have reached the Ukraine-Romania border by road are being taken to Bucharest by Indian government officials so that they can be evacuated in the Air India flight.
Air India will operate more flights on Saturday to Bucharest and Hungarian capital Budapest to evacuate Indians stranded in Ukraine.
Announcing about the flights on twitter Air India said “Air India will be operating flights on B787 aircraft from Delhi & Mumbai to Bucharest (Romania) and Budapest (Hungary) on 26th Feb as special Govt Charter flights to fly back stranded Indian citizens”.
“Air India has always been playing a pivotal role, standing by the Nation during any crisis and now, inspired by the common mission shared by the Tata group and AI of serving the Nation & its People first our employees are only too eager to respond to the call of our Nation, driven by our values & conviction that “if we don’t do it then who will?” they added.
Earlier Air India had planned to operate two more flights on February 24 and February 26 but the evacuation was disrupted following the war between the Russia and Ukraine on February 24.
Around 20,000 Indians, mainly students, are currently stranded in Ukraine, the officials said.
Before the closure of the Ukrainian airspace, Air India had conducted one flight to Ukrainian capital Kyiv on February 22 that brought 240 people back to India.
Indian nationals, especially students, living closest to these border checkpoints are advised to depart in an organised manner in coordination with teams from the Ministry of External Affairs to actualise this option, the Indian Embassy said.
The embassy advised Indian travellers to carry their passports, cash (preferably in US dollars), other essential items and COVID-19 vaccination certificates to the border checkpoints. “Print out Indian flag and paste prominently on vehicles and buses while travelling,” it said.