The Vande Bharat Mission (VBM):
The Vande Bharat Mission (VBM), which started repatriating Indians stranded abroad due to COVID-19 and the resultant lockdowns since May 7, 2020, has turned out to be one of the largest evacuations of civilians by a country.
- Into the middle of Phase 10, the VBM has surpassed the large-scale airlift of 1,10,000 people in 1990 at the onset of the Gulf War.
- Till now, the Air India (AI) Group has operated 11,523 inbound flights to carry 18,19,734 passengers and 11,528 outbound flights with 13,68,457 passengers.
- The national carrier, which carried out the bulk of air transfers under the mission, was supported by its budget carrier Air India Express.
- The current VBM Phase 10 has international and domestic schedules operating till October 31.
- Air India Express (AIE) used its B-737-800 fleet to lift agricultural produce, mainly fruits, and vegetables, to West Asian countries, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.
- “Transport bubbles” or “air travel arrangements”, temporary arrangements between two countries aimed at restarting commercial passenger services when regular international flights are suspended as a result of the pandemic, are in place.