Sime Darby Plantation Berhad (SDP) and Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) partnered to facilitate the journey home of 283 workers from India.
In a statement today, SDP said the specially chartered Malaysia Airlines aircraft A330-200, MH8780 flight took off on 12 March to the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport in Calcutta.
This is the first charter flight to India in 2021 and marks the second time both companies have joined forces to ensure the safe return of SDP’s foreign workers to their home countries.
Malaysia Airlines provided ground arrangements, and facilitating the process with the Indian Embassy in Malaysia as well as relevant authorities.
The cost of the entire exercise was borne by SDP.
“Despite the challenges, since July 2020, SDP, with the help of several agencies including Malaysia Airlines, the Malaysian Immigration Department, various embassies and KLIA Authorities, have assisted a total of 1,739 foreign workers to return home,” it noted in the statement
SDP is also in the midst of preparing the journey back for an additional 670 workers within the next three months to Indonesia, India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
In the meantime, foreign workers whose permits have expired will continue to live on SDP’s estates with free housing and subsidised utilities.
“We assist government and corporate agencies to reach countries that are not on the commercial flight network through our charter service. The operation to Calcutta also marks another new city Malaysia Airlines is flying to during this
pandemic where few commercial flights are available,” said Captain Izham Ismail, GroupChief Executive Officer of Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG), the parent company for MAB.
Malaysia Airlines and SDP had taken all necessary precautions and adhered to guidelines set by the Ministry of Health, Malaysia (MOH) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
All the foreign workers underwent the compulsory Covid-19 tests, and the
authorities were notified of the results within 24 hours before departure.
Malaysia Airlines had also ensured that the passengers and staff onboard the flight were equipped with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and that standard hygiene practices were observed, including washing hands and utilising hand sanitisers periodically throughout the journey.