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Bhopal to Delhi flight: Corona scared Indian tycoon hires 180 seat plane for 4 family members

National

May 29, 2020

ISLAMABAD: A Bhopal-based Indian businessman hired a 180-seater A320 plane of a private carrier to fly just four people - his daughter, her two children and their house help.

He is said to have booked the entire flight to ferry his family members from Bhopal to Delhi to avoid crowd at the airport and in flight amid the COVID-19 outbreak. The cost of hiring an Airbus-320 is about Rs20 lakh, according to aviation experts.

The category of the PIA plane was the same that crashed on May 22 in Karachi. This comes at a time when tens of thousands of migrant workers in India have been badly hit by the stringent lockdown, losing their jobs in cities and struggling to return to their homes thousands of kilometres away. In their desperation to get home, some have walked or cycled long distances in harsh summer heat, with dozens dying from exhaustion or accidents.

The family members of the man, a liquor baron, were stuck in Bhopal for the last two months due to the nationwide lockdown, imposed to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. "The A320 180-seater plane arrived here on May 25 to carry four members of a family, probably due to the coronavirus scare. It was chartered by someone and there was no medical emergency, an airline official was quoted as saying by the wire service.

Domestic flights resumed in India this week amid a surge in the coronavirus cases. All flights within the country, and departing and leaving for abroad, were halted in late March in a bid to stop the spread of the highly contagious virus.