The first of six flights to repatriate some of the 15,000 Canadian passport-holders stranded in India due to the COVID-19 pandemic is scheduled to leave Delhi on Saturday.
The cost per ticket is estimated at $2,900, available on a first-come, first-served basis, according to an email from Global Affairs Canada.
The special flights will connect through London, and are available to citizens and immediate family members who are permanent residents of Canada, who hold a valid permanent resident card and who will be accompanying the Canadian citizen on the flight.
Nav Jhawer has applied to get his mother and father home on one of the flights after three previous return bookings fell through amid India’s total travel and airspace lockdown.
“I’ve been worried a fair amount,” he said. “I said to them the most important thing is you have to keep yourself healthy so you can get on a flight.”
Jhawer says mother his Parkash, 66, and father Surinder, 72, of Campbell River, B.C., are snowbirds who spend winters in the Punjab in northern India.
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He says the $2,900 price tag is steep but he is more worried about those who may not be able to afford it.
“At the end of the day, I made the decision that my parents need to be home,” he said. “But think about a family of four who are already stressed or with parents who could be laid off from work.”
One flight per day is scheduled to leave Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi starting Saturday through next Tuesday.
Two additional flights will depart from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai, the first on Saturday and another next Tuesday.
Jhawer says he’s waiting to hear the details of how his parents will make the eight-hour trip to Delhi if their application is accepted, considering the sweeping travel ban that’s in place.
“At this point, I would hope all those little pieces have been thought through,” he said.
CBC News asked Global Affairs Canada for more information on the repatriation flights but hadn’t heard back at the time of publication.