Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju on Wednesday said additional flights to bring Indians in Qatar back to the country will be flown from Thursday. “All steps necessary for timely movement of our citizens from Doha will be ensured,” Raju said on Twitter.

On Monday, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had taken up the issue of additional flights between Doha and India. The facility had to be made available for Indian nationals who were not able to get bookings for various reasons, The Times of India reported.

Jet Airways will run extra flights between Mumbai and Doha on June 22 and June 23, and Air India Express will operate flights between Kerala and Doha from June 25 to July 8. While the Jet Airways plane is a 168-seater, Air India Express can accommodate 186 passengers.

Out of the 6.5 lakh Indians in Qatar, nearly three lakh hail from Kerala. After Qatar was diplomatically isolated by other Gulf nations – including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates – flight operations in and out of Doha have been hampered. Swaraj had earlier said that the diplomatic stand-off of Qatar does not affect India.