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Economy re-opening, firms charter aircraft to fly back workers

Several of the 700-plus domestic flights that operated over the last month were chartered by companies in labour-dependent sectors such as manufacturing, industrial goods, real estate, and hospitality to fly back employees who had left their places of work during the lockdown.

Companies such as state-owned ONGC Ltd and infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro operated charters from airports such as Patna and Bhubaneswar to Mumbai and Ahmedabad. Some charters flew employees to industrial hubs such as Chennai and Rajahmundry, executives at the companies and the airlines said.

Several industrial sectors had expressed concern over the massive reverse migration of employees during the lockdown. Thousands of workers left for their home towns, and manufacturing companies had been especially concerned about the shortage of both skilled and unskilled labour as the economy reopened.

“We have operated multiple charters paid for by companies to transport employees to work locations within and outside the country. One big Indian company, for example, has been regularly booking our aircraft to ferry its employees to different stations,” a SpiceJet official told The Indian Express.

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