Vande Bharat Mission: Mangalorean Capt Michael Saldanha part of evacuation mission of Keralites

08:29 AM May 09, 2020 | Team Udayavani |

Mangaluru: A Mangalurean Capt Michael Saldanha was part of India’s massive repatriation exercise to bring back its citizens stuck in different parts of the world – dubbed Vande Bharat Mission- in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.


Capt Michael Saldanha was the flight commander of the second flight that carried stranded Keralites from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) which landed in Kozhikode on Thursday, May 7 night.

“Very happy to be the part of Vande Bharat Mission. I joined this mission voluntarily because I wanted to help my fellow Indians who were stuck in other countries in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic,” said Capt Michael Saldanha, son of Placid and Freida Saldanha of Valencia in Mangaluru.

“We were all overwhelmed by the reaction we received by the people when we landed at Kozhikode airport,” added Saldanha

Dubai-Kozhikode IX 344 with 177 passengers and five infants — landed around 10.30 pm on May 7.


The 189-seater Boeing 737 of AI Express took off for Kerala with two pilots and four cabin crew members on board. The low-cost arm of AI had the last two rows of each aircraft vacant for passengers showing COVID symptoms in isolation.

Thus, the effective seating available is 177 (189-12 vacant seats in the last two rows).


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