Over 1,000 Nepalis return home on repatriation flights


Under the government’s evacuation schedule, a total of 1,082 migrant workers were repatriated today from five destinations.

A total of seven flights were conducted today. Of them, Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) conducted three flights and Himalaya Airlines conducted two flights today.

From Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, NAC repatriated 249 passengers along with five dead bodies. Similarly, 144 passengers from Dammam in Saudi Arabia and 96 passengers, including three dead bodies, were repatriated from Malaysia by NAC.

Likewise, Himalaya Airlines repatriated 154 passengers and two dead bodies from Dammam in Saudi Arabia and 156 passengers from Kuwait.

Qatar Airways repatriated 127 passengers from Doha, while Jazeera Airways brought home 156 migrant workers from Kuwait.

According to Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), five repatriation flights have been scheduled on Sunday. The flights are scheduled to bring home stranded Nepalis from Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. Starting from June 11, the government has been repatriating Nepalis stranded in several countries, with topmost priority given to migrant workers who have become jobless due to COVID-19 outbreak.

Although the government had announced it would bring back more than 24,000 Nepalis in the first phase, recently the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) has stated that first phase repatriation will continue only till July 10. The government will work accordingly for the second phase of repatriation. Around one million Nepalis are expected to return home due to the COVID-19.

Amid this, Tourism Minister Yogesh Bhattarai has said that the MoCTCA is preparing to operate regular commercial flights in destinations from where most of the Nepalis are being repatriated at this moment.

Speaking during a meeting with the private sector on Friday, the tourism minister had said that the government is planning to resume international flights specifically from labour destinations of Nepalis.

Earlier, MoCTCA had said both domestic and international flights might be resumed from August.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on July 5, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.