A KLM flight en route to India yesterday was turned around and sent back to its home base.
Saturday’s flight from Amsterdam to Delhi had 100 passengers on board, including a pregnant woman, but was ‘redirected’ back to the Netherlands while overflying Russia.
According to the Hindu, the Indian government is confused about its own ban on flights coming from Europe, introduced as part of measures to stop the spread of coronavirus.
The paper reported:
“Although flights carrying passengers from The Netherlands and other European Union countries have been prohibited since March 18, the KLM airlines flight operated on an assurance by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) which maintained that the advisory was not for transit passengers. After the flight took off from Amsterdam at 12.40 p.m. local time, officials in the Ministry of Civil Aviation got into a huddle to look at a request from the MEA. Officials took a hard look at their advisory issued on March 16 and concluded that all passengers from Europe, were barred from entering India, regardless of what their port of origin was, said officials in the know. A government official explained that the aircraft was forced to return because of ‘inter-ministry confusion’.”
On Twitter, Indians told how their relatives, trying to return to India, were now stuck in Amsterdam.
For the passengers of yesterday’s flight KLM 871, it was a frustrating seven-hour journey to nowhere.
After completing its landing in Delhi, the KLM aircraft was expected to evacuate Dutch nationals before the Indian government’s ban on all flights comes into effect tomorrow (March 22).