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China rescue flight expected

17 Aug, 2020 - 00:08 0 Views
China rescue flight expected

The Herald

Herald Reporter
THE Air Zimbabwe flight that left Guangzhou, China on Saturday night on another repatriation mission is expected to touch down at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport this morning with 132 passengers.

The Air Zimbabwe Boeing 767-200ER is set to arrive at 9.30am carrying 131 adults and an infant.

Most of the passengers are Zimbabwean students who were stranded in China.

Air Zimbabwe spokesperson Ms Firstme Vitori last night confirmed that the flight was on its way back to Harare, but could not reveal the exact time of arrival.

“I can confirm that the flight is on its way, but I will only know the arrival time when it lands in Johannesburg,” she said.

Ms Vitori said the flight was carrying both Zimbabwean and South African citizens.

The students had been holed up in China following the Covid-19 lockdown and the subsequent cancellation worldwide, of most commercial flights.

Parents had been asked to pay at least US$1 000 each to bring back the students on the chartered flight.

Air Zimbabwe had hoped that the outbound leg of the flight would be taken by locally-based Chinese who are being repatriated back home.

However, the Chinese Embassy is understood to have made alternative arrangements.

For a while, the students appeared destined for a continued life of desperation and hunger as Air Zimbabwe said they could not afford flying an empty plane to China.

However, Government stepped in and a happy ending starts today when the students return home and are quarantined.

Experts say Air Zimbabwe has done incredibly well, operating the B767-200ER on repatriation charters even though the last flight lasted more than a month after the aircraft developed engine trouble in Bangkok, Thailand.

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