Over 1,800 Chinese return home on special flights


  • China
  • Tuesday, 07 Apr 2020

BEIJING: China has so far sent 11 special flights to bring back a total of 1,827 Chinese citizens in countries hit hard by the novel coronavirus outbreak, according to the country’s civil aviation regulator.

Starting from March 4, the country has operated six flights to Iran to return a total of 976 Chinese citizens and four flights to Italy to bring back 670 Chinese as of the end of Friday, said Han Guangzu, deputy chief of the flight standard department of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, yesterday.

The administration also arranged one flight to the United Kingdom last week to pick up 181 people, most of whom were students, he said.

He added that they would step up the arrangement of special or chartered flights to bring back overseas Chinese in cities with mass demands and capability to receive flights.

Han also noted that the diversion of inbound flights headed for Beijing to other airports had been running smoothly.

From March 20 to Sunday, a total of 112 international flights carrying 25,700 passengers bound for Beijing had been diverted to 12 designated airports, where all passengers must be tested for the virus upon disembarkation.

Those cleared of the pathogen are then allowed to reboard the aircraft to the capital.

The country also witnessed a drastic decrease in international flights as the administration rolled out orders slashing such flights in a bid to curb the surging number of imported coronavirus cases.

By the end of Sunday, the number of international flights stood at 112 since the measure took effect on March 29, with 88 flights operated by domestic airlines and 24 flights operated by overseas carriers, Han said.

Some 21,000 people entered the country via air travel in the past eight days, he said, adding that the number of daily inbound air travellers had dropped from the previous 25,000 to less than 3,000.

The administration had also tightened approval on the business chartered flight service across the country since March 25, with an average of three such flights entering the country on a daily basis, according to Han. — China Daily/ANN

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