Mumbai, Mar 25 (PTI) Lufthansa is operating a 'repatriation' flight to India on Wednesday night from Frankfurt to fly back German nationals, who are stuck here due to the ban on international flights in the wake of COVID-19.

The Airbus A380 flight has already departed from Frankfurt at 12:45 pm CET (Central European Time) as repatriation flight--LH9912-- and it is scheduled to arrive at around midnight at Indira Gandhi Airport in Delhi, Lufthansa said in a statement to PTI.

The return flight, LH343 to Frankfurt, will depart from Delhi at 1:30 am local time. It will bring German citizens back home at a time when no international flights are operating to and from India and most air traffic worldwide has come to a halt, the airline said.

Lufthansa, however, did not disclose the number of Germans it will be flying back on the repatriation flight.

A Lufthansa A20 can accommodate more than 500 passengers in first, business, premium economy and economy class, according to the airline's website.

“Carrying out repatriation flights and bringing people back home is the responsibility that Lufthansa Group airlines bear being part of the critical infrastructure in the home countries of Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Belgium," said Lufthansa Group Senior Director for South Asia, George Ettiyil.

For Lufthansa being able to operate the repatriation flight on Wednesday with the A380, it was very helpful that Indian authorities decided to extend visas of foreigners in India last week, he said.

“These are challenging times for everyone - we are in this together with the Indian people,” said Ettiyil.

Since March 14, Lufthansa Group airlines, Swiss, Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa and Eurowings have flown about 220 special flights back to the home countries of Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Belgium, involving more than 40,000 holidaymakers, the airline said adding over 70 further flights are already in preparation.

Wide-body aircraft such as the Boeing 747, A380 and Airbus A350 are being used to provide as much capacity as possible on these return flights, it said.

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