Evacuation of French tourists from Bangalore
The coronavirus crisis did not allow more than 2000 French tourists to return from India (worldwide figures stand at 100 000). The Consulate General of France devoted a lot of effort in order to assist then and consequently organise repatriation on a special chartered flight.
The lockdown in India, just like the containment measures applied in France, did not allow many tourists to return to their country.
The Consulate General of France opened an emergency call centre in order to locate French tourists and to provide them assistance. First two groups of people on our priority lists based on their age and their health conditions were repatriated to Europe on 31st March on a special flight organised by the Germans; these passengers were from Hyderabad and Bangalore.
The rest of the tourists who wanted to leave India were thereafter repatriated on 4th April from Bangalore, an exercise that became more complex with traffic restrictions imposed further.
Thanks to the help of Karnataka government officials and the Accor group of hotels, which provided accommodation to those in our first phase of evacuation, the repatriation operation took place smoothly and successfully.
The entire team of the Consulate General of France contributed in organising this evacuation, which allowed us to see the Kempegowda International Airport in an undulating manner: at 3 am, completely empty but open only for our group of 70 passengers who were to board the special Air India chartered flight. This flight then flew to Cochin and Mumbai, where more passengers heading to France boarded.
For many passengers it was a relief to return to France, although many have promised to come back to India sometime later when the situation improves.