Close to 300 Europeans stranded in 13 Pacific Island countries including Fiji are on their way home in special flights that left Nadi Airport yesterday evening.
Among the passengers are 183 are on a repatriation flight to Brisbane operated by Fiji Airways and chartered by Germany. They will transit through Brisbane and Doha to Munich. Others will transit back to Europe on flights to Sydney and Los Angeles.
Onboard the flight are Europeans from Germany, France, Italy, Czech Republic, Greece, United Kingdom, Ireland, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, Croatia, Austria, Belgium, The Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Romania, Hungary, Norway and Slovakia.
Ambassador Sujiro Seam, head of the European Union in the Pacific said: ”Helping Europeans stranded around the world return home is a key priority for the European Union during the COVID-19 pandemic. From the Pacific, it is particularly challenging because several connections are required to fly back to Europe. The repatriation flights organized today were a complex operation. They would not have been possible without the close cooperation with EU Member States, Pacific governments and airlines. Nothing makes me happier than Europeans soon to be reunited with their loved ones in Europe. We will keep working to bring the Europeans who are still stranded in the Pacific back home.”
The British High Commission in Suva participated actively in this coordination, “as it continues to lead on consular protection for unrepresented Europeans in Fiji until the end of the BREXIT transition period.”
Nearly 1000 Europeans were stranded across the Pacific, most in Fiji, after the Nadi International Airport was closed and all regular flights were suspended to contain the outbreak of the pandemic.