By Roy Mabasa
A total of 390 French tourists and tourists of 22 other European nationalities were successfully repatriated by the French government on Thursday following the Philippine government’s implementation of a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19.
This was the second sweeper flight commissioned by the French government to gather, fetch, and bring home their citizens as well as those from other European countries who were stranded in various tourist places in the country as an offshoot of the COVID19-related measures in effect.
A Qatar Airways plane commissioned by the French government at a negotiated rate fetched the French and European tourists from Cebu and subsequently Manila en route to Paris.
In the evening of April 1 and 2, 390 French citizens contacted by the French Embassy, as well as 22 citizens of different European states, flew to France from Cebu and Manila.
In a statement, the French Embassy in Manila thanked the Philippine government for assisting them in the elaborate task of extracting their nationals in different places, considering the existing lockdown in many localities.
“Similar to the previous special flight organized last March 24 and 25, the Embassy of France renews its most sincere gratitude to the Filipino authorities, most especially the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Tourism, the Department of Transportation, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, as well as the administrators of the Mactan Cebu International Airport and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, for their active and constant support in the organization of this flight and in the success of this operation,” the French Embassy said.
The two flights organized by the French government last March 24 and April 1 have allowed the return to France of 796 French nationals.