It is true when they say that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. When we began our charter journey, we had only one mission in our hearts – to reunite you with your loved ones. Who would have thought that a whole year later, we would have flown another 60 charter flights?
It’s been a rollercoaster alright. A rollercoaster of emotions, challenges, restrictions, and elation of seeing families together. And we have nothing but endless gratitude in our hearts for you all. Thank you for making this possible! It’s been a crazy year, and that definitely deserves a recap!
The pandemic that struck the world was unprecedented but none of us knew then that the world would never be the same again. When COVID-19 pandemic officially hit Australia, the country went into a lockdown like many others. The world came to a stop and people were forced to isolate in their homes. Numerous flight restrictions, domestic and international took effect. This included travel between India and Australia. Families were separated, borders were shut, and anguish overtook the world.
We knew we had to do something. We couldn’t give up. Our team at Gaura Travel banded together and created a COVID-19 response plan. We were still operating 24×7 and left no stone unturned to answer calls, fulfill refunds and be there for the community.
JULY 2020 (22nd of July – 1st Charter Flight)
Numerous hurdles came our way, but nothing stopped us from our mission to reunite people with their loved ones. Finally, on 22 July our first charter flight departed from Australia to India. We were ecstatic, but we knew it was just the beginning.
Months later, on 5th of February, after tremendous grit, planning and efficiency, we reached a milestone of re-uniting 10,000 families, the largest repatriation flight operation to India. 8 months after that first charter flight and 40 subsequent charter flights later… we became the leader in repatriation Charter Flights between Australia and India. Celebrations were afoot and we enjoyed the success in the presence of the reputed Indian High Commissioner and many eminent members of the community who supported us in our journey.
There was joy in the air, but the directors of Gaura Travel, Ashwini Sonthalia and Abhishek Sonthalia, knew that more had to be done. They resonated with the longing of those stuck in India, and on 27 February 2021, we announced the great news of special charter flights from India to Australia!
Flight after flight, the mission of repatriating people back from India became stronger and on the 19th March, we crossed another benchmark of operating 50 charter flights! Keeping customers at the forefront, we did everything we could to be your best way home. In collaboration with Singapore Airlines, the 50th charter flight took off from Melbourne Airport carrying 200 people to New Delhi.
Soon after, we repatriated 12,000 families! This is till date, the largest private charter operation between Australia and India.
In April, India faced a second wave of COVID-19, and cases sky rocketed. Unfortunately, on 27th of April Australia announced a ban on travel from India, leaving many heartbroken, and more stuck… we knew another battle had begun. Our flights were cancelled, borders were shut – but amidst all the chaos, we pulled up our socks and did what we had to, to see you reunite with your families.
After months of dormancy due to the raging pandemic, Australia geared up for a return to some normalcy with borders reopening to India and essential travel being permitted.
Australia opened its borders to India on 15th May, and gave a green signal for the travel operations between India and Australia to resume. More than 11,000 people were stuck, and we knew we had to get them back home.
The road wasn’t easy. We faced challenges after challenges, but we overcame them all! Our flight from India to Australia took off on 13th of July and nothing made us happier as this marked as our 60th Charter Flight in our repatriation journey. This wouldn’t have been possible without your trust in us. We made it possible in the past, and we did it again!
Our next flight from India to Australia is on 02 August! Hurry! As only 9 seats are left now! Other flights on sale are scheduled on 09, 16, 23 and 30 August! Yes, we can’t stop and won’t stop!
WE ARE WITH YOU!
Travelling can be challenging in these uncertain times. We understand you and your worries. That is why we are with you at every step of your journey.
This one year taught us that the road of life twists and turn, and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination. The tests we faced in this journey revealed our weaknesses but also helped us discover our inner strengths. We can only know how strong we are when we strive and thrive beyond the challenges we face.
We can proudly say, we did it! And yes, in the end it was worth it!