COVID-19 Unusual Repatriation Flights
COVID-19 Unusual Repatriation Flights

In the last few weeks, due to the increase of COVID-19 cases, unique and unusual repatriation flights have been carried out all over the world.

In this article, we will show you some of them.

EL AL Melbourne-Tel Aviv

EL AL is currently operating the longest flight in the airline’s history.

The airline is flying a Boeing 787-9, with registration 4X-EDK and flight LY085, from Tel Aviv, Israel to Melbourne, Australia. The flight is expected to have a duration of 17 hours and 40 minutes and will bring 180 Israelis back home.

On March 24th EL AL arrived for the first time in Australia, flying a 787-9 from Perth to Tel Aviv carrying 230 citizens.

Austrian Airlines Vienna – Sydney

Last Saturday, Austrian Airlines operated the longest flight in the airline’s history from Vienna to Sydney. This historic non-stop flight of 16,000km and 17 flight hours was operated by a Boeing 777-200 (OE-LPD).

The return journey had on board 300 Austrian citizens and, because of this, had to make a stop at Penang International Airport in Malaysia. In Penang, they changed the crew, refuelled and picked up medical supplies such as gloves.

a large white and red airplane on a runway
Austrian Boeing 777 arriving to Sydney Airport (Photo by Kurt Ams)

Austrian airlines has already temporarily ceased all regular operations, but has flown many repatriation flights including to Mexico City, Masa Alam, Denpasar and Washington D.C.

a group of people in red uniforms standing in front of an airplane
Austrian Airlines Repatriation Flights

Wizz Air USA & Canada

Yesterday, two Wizz Air A321neos left Budapest to begin repatriation of Hungary citizens in Canada and the USA. Both aircraft made a fuel stop at Keflavik airport in Iceland, before arriving at their destinations.

a plane taking off from a runway
Wizz Air about to arrive in Toronto (Photo by @livingbyyyz)

An Airbus A321neo, with registration HA-LVE and flight number WZZ9021, went first to Toronto, Canada then onto Chicago and Miami, USA.

The other aircraft, registration HA-LVC and flight WZZ9011, went to New York, JFK and Los Angeles.

LOT Polish Airlines Sydney – Warsaw

LOT started the operation #LOTdoDomu and until March 27th over 37,000 individuals have been returned to Poland. So far 275 flights have been operated by the Polish national airline, with a total of 44 aircraft at all types.

One of these special flights was to Sydney, Australia. The flight was operated two days ago with a Boeing 787-9 (SP-LSG) and had a stop in Bangkok to pick more travellers.

On the same day, LOT performed a flight to Buenos Aires, Argentina. The flight was operated with the same type of aircraft as that used on the route to Australia and had a total flight time of 15 hours.

Swiss Zurich – Santiago

On March 27th Swiss operated their longest flight ever. This flight, between Zurich and Santiago, Chile, was operated with a Boeing 777-300ER, registration HB-JNJ and a flight time of 14 hours.

With this special flight, Swiss transported back home 254 passengers.

a plane with a large engine
Swiss B777-300/ER Zurich to Santiago

Lufthansa Frankfurt – Auckland

On March 25th Lufthansa operated a flight from Frankfurt, Germany to Auckland, New Zealand via Tokyo Haneda. The flight, LH9902 ,was operated by a 20-years-old Boeing 747-400 (D-ABVY).

The aircraft stayed on the ground for 2 hours in Tokyo, for refuelling, and arrived in Auckland at 06:17 on March 27th. Making a combined flight time of almost 21 hours.

“In cooperation with the Federal Government we want to enable German citizens who are stranded abroad to return home”

Lufthansa Website

Lufthansa operated other repatriation flight destinations including Windhoek (Namibia), Delhi (India), Manila (Philippines) and several more.

Wamos Air Frankfurt – Honolulu

One week ago, a Boeing 747-400 (EC-MQK) from Wamos Air arrived in Frankfurt from Honolulu, Hawaii. The flight covered an approximately 12,000km flight route in 15 hours.

COVID-19: Unusual Repatriation Flights
Wamos Air B747-400. Photo by Maxime Thibert

It carried European passengers from the cruise ship Norwegian Jewel, that had finally been allowed to dock in Hawaii, after weeks of sailing around the Pacific.

Air Serbia Belgrade – Los Angeles

Last week, the US Embassy in Serbia coordinated a charter flight, from Nikola Tesla Airport in Belgrade, Serbia to Los Angeles, USA.

Air Serbia offered this flight at no charge. There were however limitations, like a maximum weight luggage of 15 kilograms and pets were not allowed.

“Flight seats will be prioritised for US citizens and their eligible family members (including those with identified health concerns), Legal Permanent Residents of the United States and then others, as seats may become available” – US Embassy in Serbia.

Bamboo Airways Bangkok – Kaunas

Yesterday, Bamboo Airways performed their second European flight to Kaunas, Lithuania.

a man and woman standing in front of an airplane
Bamboo Airways B787-9

The flight was operated by a Boeing 787-9 (VN-A819) and had a 10 hour flight time, it took off from Bangkok with 220 passengers on board. On the return journey to Hanoi, Vietnam the flight was empty.

Nepal Airlines Kathmandu to Brisbane

The Australian Government chartered a Nepal Airlines A330-200 to fly stranded Australian and New Zealand citizens back home. This is the first time Nepal Airlines flying to Australia via Kuala Lumpur.

Condor Perth to Germany via Phuket

Hundreds of cruise ship passengers onboard The Artania were flying to Germany on Sunday March 29, after spending days stranded at sea off the West Australian coast in a stand-off with the authorities.

4 Condor Boeing 767s is taking the 800 tourist flying via Phuket back to Germany.

a map with white and black text and white letters