PRESS RELEASE 062
Ministry of Foreign Affairs schedules five new flights to help Spaniards trying to return home
24/04/2020
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation has notified all those interested of a total of five repatriation flights scheduled from different countries in Latin America and the Asia Pacific region for those Spaniards who, due to the severe restrictions imposed as a result of COVID-19, have run out of alternatives to return to Spain.

The first of these flights will leave Argentina on 27 April, with a stopover in Paraguay where other Spaniards will board that had expressed their interest to the respective embassies in catching this flight. This will be the sixth flight out of Argentina, where 1,346 Spaniards have returned from. Only two days later another flight will leave Ecuador, the fifth of this nature, which will give a total of well over 1,000 Spaniards that the Spanish Embassy in Ecuador has arranged travel for.

Another flight will leave Australia on 30 April, one from Colombia on 2 May (second flight chartered by Spain, with 233 Spaniards on the first one), and one from Bolivia at the start of May. However, other flights are being considered that could raise the final number of flights chartered by Spain in addition to the present total of 42.

Through this formula that falls under the European Civil Protection Mechanism, more than 7,000 Spaniards have been repatriated since restrictions were imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This figure is completed by the assistance provided by the network of embassies and consulates to Spaniards that expressed their intention of returning to Spain which easily exceeds 24,000 people by the end of this week.

One of the most important operations, particularly due to its complexity, is the flight that landed on Friday from the Philippines with 157 Spaniards on-board. But there have also been others which were also complex, albeit with smaller numbers, such as the flight that allowed 10 Spaniards to return from Niger and Chad on French planes; three Spaniards that managed to leave Tanzania on a Dutch plane; 10 Spaniards who were in Tbilisi (Georgia) and managed to reach Barcelona; a bus with 29 Spaniards on-board (including 26 Erasmus students) from Prague and another from Milan with four passengers that also managed to reach Barcelona; two Spaniards from Uganda; another two from Cameroon; four from the Ivory Coast and five more from Ghana, among others.

The network of Spanish embassies and consulates has ensured that most Spaniards that heeded the recommendations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation not to travel and to reschedule their trip to return home have achieved this. However, new cases are starting to emerge of people who had mainly not reported their presence in the country or of their interest in returning to Spain.

Both the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation and the 215 embassies and consulates that employ some 4,500 professionals are permanently on call to provide a response to their situation. In addition, the ‘Aloja’ platform has also been set up which, in just three weeks, has registered 456 Spanish residents abroad offering accommodation for 493 Spaniards who have enquired after this alternative for those who cannot find a place to stay while waiting to return to Spain.

-NON OFFICIAL TRANSLATION-​

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