Pune: As many as 143 Afghan passengers stranded in different parts of the country departed from Pune airport by a special flight arranged by the Afghanistan Government. However, a total of nine Indian passengers arrived by the same flight.
The flight number RQ 401 arrived at 12.30 pm at Pune airport, however, the flight was delayed to depart by 2 hours and actually departed at 3.30 pm instead of 1.30 pm.
Pune Custom Joint Commissioner Vaishali Patange said, "Pune customs successfully facilitated the arrival of nine Indian nationals and departure of 143 Afghanistan nationals stranded in Afghanistan and India respectively due to COVID-19 by KAM airlines. Departed Afghan nationals are mostly defence personnel and students who came to Pune airport from Goa, Panchamarhi and Bangalore."
The students included cadets from National Defence Academy (NDA), officers who had come for a short course at Military Institute of Technology (MILIT) while some officers were also included who had come for an exchange program. Apart from this some students studying at Pune colleges such as Symbiosis International College, Fergusson College and other colleges in the city also went back.
"The flight landed at 12.40 pm and departed at 3.30 pm. Out of nine arriving passengers, eight were sent to their respective places to be quarantined, one passenger has cough history and sent for COVID swab test," she said.
"Total 147 passengers came for departure, out of which four were sent back as flight capacity was for 143 passengers only. No departing passengers found with signs and symptoms of COVID-19," said Pune airport Director Kuldeep Singh.
All officials of Customs, Airport Authority of India (AAI), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and district administration coordinated to facilitate the movement. The passengers arrived from Pune, Mumbai, Khopoli and other places. District administration has arranged for transport of these passengers.
All the agencies including customs, CISF followed COVID-19 SOP (standard operating procedures) including use of PPE, maintaining social distancing, use of sanitizer, wearing masks etc. After every screening of passengers at Security Hold Area (SHA), the CISF personnel were using hand sanitizers and even the instruments used by them also sanitized.