The flight was arranged by Praveen Shetty, chairman of Fortune Group of Hotels, UAE, and president of Karnataka non-Resident Indian Forum, at a cost of Rs 37 lakh. He has sent his employees on paid leaveand paid for their institutional quarantine in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi. The employees are from Udupi, Kundapur, Mangaluru and Kasaragod district of Kerala.
SpiceJet operated the special flight from Ras al-Khaimah (RAK), the northernmost emirate in the UAE, to Mangaluru and it was the first non-Vande Bharat Mission carrier to land at MIA after the lockdown was eased.
Flight from UAE delayed by 8 hours
Rahul Shindhe, IAS officer in charge of international operations at MIA, told TOI the flight landed at the airport around 10.30pm after it was rescheduled twice causing an eight-hour delay.
Last of the passengers left the airport in buses to their respective institutional quarantine — 130 of them in Udupi and the rest in Dakshina Kannada — by 1am. For now, Shetty has sent 60% of his hotel staff home. “I have not cancelled the visas of my staff and will bring them back once the pandemic subsides,” he had told TOI.