SpiceJet, the largest air cargo operator, on Thursday operated its maiden repatriation flight from Philippines under the Vande Bharat Mission. The airline repatriated 160 stranded Indian nationals from Cebu to Chennai.
In addition to repatriating Indian nationals the airline will also arrange complimentary air travel for three Philippines nationals requiring liver treatment in Hyderabad on September 12. SpiceJet deployed its Boeing 737 aircraft for this flight.
Shambhu S. Kumaran, Ambassador of India to the Republic of Philippines, said that he was delighted that SpiceJet is operating a flight from Cebu to Chennai today followed by a flight from Cebu to Hyderabad and Ahmedabad on September 12.
“These VBM flights reflect the partnership between Embassy of India in Manila and SpiceJet to provide maximum possible opportunities for stranded Indians, especially students, in the Philippines to return home,” he said.
Kumaran added that he also wished to record his sincere appreciation to SpiceJet for carrying a liver transplant child, donor and family free of charge at the request of the Embassy on humanitarian grounds. “This underlines the highest social values that guide Indian companies such as SpiceJet. For the Embassy, the relationship between India and Philippines is driven by our people, and the welfare of the most vulnerable and needy is above all else.”
Debashis Saha, Vice President, Regulatory and Government Affairs, SpiceJet, said, “SpiceJet is extremely proud to operate its maiden repatriation flight from Philippines to India under the Vande Bharat Mission and bring back home our fellow Indian nationals. Reuniting our fellow Indians with their families in these very difficult times is a great motivation for us and another example of our commitment to helping as many people as we can to get back home. It also gives us immense joy to facilitate complimentary travel for three Philippines nationals who were waiting to reach India for their medical treatment. I wish them the speedy recovery and the pink of health.”
SpiceJet had earlier operated four charter flights between Manila and Delhi thereby repatriating around 700 Indians and 170 passengers holding permanent residency of Philippines on one flight from Delhi to Manila. The airline also facilitated travel of 12 Filipino children to Delhi who required an urgent liver transplant.
The airline has been active in repatriating Indians and foreign nationals during these pandemic times. The airline has operated more than 695 charter and 25 Vande Bharat flights to help repatriate more than 117,600 stranded Indian citizens and foreign nationals to and from countries such as UK, Italy, Canada, Philippines, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Netherlands, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Lebanon, Bangladesh, Maldives, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Sri Lanka.
Amidst the greatest crisis ever to hit global aviation, SpiceJet has also emerged as India’s No. 1 cargo company. The airline has operated over 6694 cargo flights and transported over 46405 tons of cargo – this is more than double of all domestic airlines combined together – carrying medicines and medical equipment and fruits and vegetables to all corners of India and the world since March 25, 2020.