Plea for MORE Assisted flights AHCNewDel for Aussie Citizens/PRs stuck in India lockdown

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Dear Fellow Australian Citizens, Residents (our Team-Australia)

This is a plea to Hon Barry O’Farrell, Australian High Commissioner to New Delhi, India - on behalf of other fellow Australian residents and Citizens stuck here in India due to extended lockdown as a result of novel coronavirus (nCov-19) outbreak.

I contend that International flight ban and lockdown in India has aggravated our distress exponentially and so I request AHC’s kind consideration to provide MORE evacuation/assisted flights to take us back home safely and urgently.

I urge you to consider and prioritise atleast the vulnerable that need it urgently at this time of an unprecedented financial and emotional distress. Please note paying $2300 seem to have become the new norm for the evacuation/assisted flights facilitated by AHC and that seem to have been aggravated by Air-India flights to a new high.

  1. I urge priority for a free/reduced fare based assisted/evacuation flight to citizens that are vulnerable - on basis of level of distress - be it financial, psychological, medical, age or any other concerns that impacts our well-being.
  2. This is the time when we need AHC and our Australian Government to be most considerate of our needs. I urge you to lead by an example and show empathy towards us who face this tremendous emotional/financial turmoil in the scare of this deadly virus.
  3. Many of us have access to a limited and constrained financial support and for some it may be rapidly deteriorating. Some of us have had several bookings made with multiple airlines that are in a non-refundable status at the moment (having spent in excess of $5k for unused return flights).
  4. For some of us, we may not be fortunate enough to have a job once we go back and we may not be eligible for any stimulus assistance. This amount can be a year’s worth of savings to feed our families and to pay for kids schooling or towards our rents and mortgages.
  5. For AHC, this could be around another 1000 passengers being paid for their $2300 worth of flight each. Yes it’s a significant amount on top of quarantine expenses that government is being requested to bear. I acknowledge no other country may be doing what already has been done by AHC and Australian Fed govt and no other country has not provided any stimulus as Australia has, but that’s what makes us true Aussies – for helping the ones in most need. We are at the front when it comes to giving back to the community and that is what makes us who we are.
  6. We thank our honourable high commissioner for the other 4000+ citizens that have already been assisted to return home over last 6 weeks in April-May 2020. That has only been possible with coordinated efforts from Governments of both countries and others volunteering tirelessly day and night. We continue to appreciate all that support and can’t thank you enough for showing your ongoing perseverance in assisting us.
  7. We are in full support of all quarantine guidelines and am confident to adhere to and be subjected to strict protocols/directives stipulated by Australian Government and relevant Medical authorities once we are back home.

Please note, I personally waive off my right to a free/reduced evacuation flight by AHC as I do not face any significant financial distress. I am simply trying to reflect upon plight of other fellow citizens stuck here in India who I have interacted with over last few weeks. I once again trust you to be considerate and assist us by seeking funding to help provide them financial assistance on these upcoming flights..

Warm regards

Ravi Mendiratta (a fellow Aussie)