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As the economy begins to reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the over 700 domestic flights that operated over the last month were chartered by companies in labour-dependent sectors like the state-owned ONGC Ltd and infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro(L&T).
Many companies in the manufacturing, industrial goods, real estate, and hospitality sector chartered flights to bring back their workers who had gone home during the lockdown, reported The Indian Express.
In a massive reverse migration, scores of migrant workers had returned home during the nationwide lockdown, leading to concerns among industrial sectors regarding the shortage of labour as the economy reopened.
Amid this, oil major ONGC and infrastructure giant L&T have chartered flights from airports such as Patna and Bhubaneswar to Mumbai and Ahmedabad. Some companies chartered flights to Chennai and Andhra Pradesh's Rajahmundry, which has several industrial parks, as well.
"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 media.
Spicejet has chartered flights on sectors including Delhi-Kochi, Jodhpur-Kochi, Jodhpur-Chennai, Jodhpur-Delhi, Jodhpur-Rajahmundry and Delhi-Rajahmundry. According to industry sources, the flights to Kochi mainly carried blue-collar workers in the hospitality sector who had returned to homes in places around Delhi, such as in Rajasthan, Haryana, and western Uttar Pradesh.
L&T flew over 100 personnel from Bhubaneswar to Ahmedabad to resume work on the Ahmedabad Metro project on June 20. Meanwhile, according to an Air India official, ONGC has chartered flight to transport over 5,000 personnel to its stations across the country in the past month.
While the first of these aircraft flew around 100 workers from Bihar, Jharkhand, and eastern UP to Mumbai from Patna in May, the subsequent ones flew workers from Delhi, Chennai, and Kolkata, among others.
As these workers are "specialised workers, supervisory staff, or those with specific skills such as arc welding, machine-moulded carpentry, or operating cranes," they are being flown back as it is difficult to resume work without their specialised skills, a senior executive at an infrastructure company said.
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